Fox News contributor Ben Carson now claims that he will likely run for president in 2016, capping off a more than year-long campaign by the network to promote his political ambitions. Carson’s potential run continues the seemingly never-ending series of Republicans who have used Fox as a jumping off point for runs for office.
During a September 22 appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Carson told Hewitt that the “likelihood is strong” he will throw his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination in 2016, “unless the American people indicate in November that they like big government intervention in every part of their lives.”
While Carson has repeatedly discussed the idea of running in recent months — often in response to questions about the multi-million dollar “Draft Ben Carson” movement — his comments to Hewitt seem like the strongest indication that he will seek the nomination. (Hewitt concluded based on the interview that it was “Pretty clear he will be running for president.”)
Carson’s assertion that he will likely run once again raises questions about Fox News’ ongoing unethical arrangement with contributors that are planning bids for office. The network has repeatedly given its contributors a megaphone (and a paycheck) while they openly discuss future political plans, only severing their contracts once the employee-candidates file official paperwork.
It’s created a situation where it encourages the network’s stable of future candidates to delay a formal announcement while continuing to benefit from Fox News’ prominent platform, which can amount to millions of dollars of what is essentially free advertising. This ethically shady setup has previously been criticized by current Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz, who wrote for the Daily Beast in 2011, “The longer candidates stay in the Fox camp, the longer they can utilize the platform of the country’s top-rated cable news channel—and pad their bank accounts to boot.”
And while Carson considers a run, Fox News is happy to help stoke the speculation. Fox News and other conservative media are responsible in large part for helping catapult Carson from a career as a renowned neurosurgeon into his current incarnation as a political bombthrower — with a penchant for spouting nonsense — following a 2013 speech he gave attacking President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Shortly after that speech, he quickly became a media star, with Fox News figures quickly latching onto the idea he should run for president. The day after he delivered his speech, Sean Hannity hosted Carson on his Fox News show, asked him if he would ever run for president, then announced, “I would vote for you in a heartbeat.” The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed titled “Ben Carson for President.” A week later, one of Fox’s news programs dedicated a segment to one of the day’s “top stories,” which was the “buzz” that Carson should run for office.
Following several more months of network personalities fawning over Carson, Fox News inevitably announced that it had hired him in October 2013. Since then, Fox News and Carson have continued to work together to build his political brand and promote the idea that he is a viable presidential contender.
During a characteristic May 19, 2014, appearance on Hannity, sitting in front of a banner asking “Will He Run?” Carson bragged about how he’s been greeted with “record crowds” everywhere he goes, as well as people constantly asking him if he would consider running for president. Carson also delivered what sounded a lot like stump speech material, saying, “I think what people really are looking for is common sense and courage and somebody who understands the constitution and the principles of freedom, innovation, social responsibility. And if somebody can come along with those things and really gain a lot of traction, I would be delighted. And if they don’t I would certainly give it serious consideration.”
Bill O’Reilly’s lead story on August 26, 2014, was about the “rumors swirling that Dr. Ben Carson may run for president,” with O’Reilly touting Carson winning a presidential straw poll in Iowa. O’Reilly explained to Carson that if he plans to run for president, “you’re gonna have to start now raising money,” because he has to build a campaign infrastructure. Asked by O’Reilly if he had started doing so, Carson responded, “yes, we’ve started the USA First PAC to do exactly that, but also to raise funds to help other candidates.”
Online, it’s been more of the same. A FoxNews.com article from August 2 pointed to Carson’s formation of a political action committee as evidence he was “taking a couple of major steps toward a 2016 presidential bid.” Fox Nation has also posted numerous articles promoting Carson 2016 talk, featuring headlines like “Dr. Ben Carson: The Cure for 2016?” and “Conservative Push For Ben Carson 2016 Run Gains Momentum.”
Now that Carson has repeatedly indicated he will “likely” run and has started building campaign infrastructure to do so, Fox News is once again giving a likely political candidate free advertising by not suspending or severing his contract until he makes a formal decision. If the past is any indication, however, this farce will continue for many months, even if it’s an open secret Carson will run. See previously: Scott Brown, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Pete Snyder, and numerous contributors like Sarah Palin who decided against runs but who spent months openly speculating about doing so on network airwaves.
And this being Fox News, Ben Carson of course has 2016 company. Mike Huckabee, a Fox News host who had a network platform while pondering a 2012 presidential run, has also been making the rounds lately pushing the idea that he is considering a 2016 run (Huckabee unsuccessfully ran for president in 2008). Huckabee’s political action committee has sent out at least two emails this month promoting a CNN poll that found Huckabee as a top 2016 candidate among Iowa voters. Like with Carson, Fox News has also dutifully promoted the Huckabee 2016 speculation.
Fellow Fox News contributor John Bolton is also reportedly considering a 2016 run.
H/T: Ben Dimiero at MMFA
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has a history of illegal behavior and controversial comments — facts that were left out of mainstream print reporting on GOP candidates trying to win his favor last week.
The Republican Jewish Coalition met March 27-29 in Las Vegas, and the event was dubbed the “Adelson Primary" as GOP presidential hopefuls used the meeting to fawn over magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a casino and resort operating firm, who reportedly spent nearly $150 million attempting to buy the 2012 election with donations to a super PAC aligned with Mitt Romney and other outside groups (including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads). Before switching allegiance to Romney, Adelson had donated millions to Newt Gingrich. He has also given generously in the past to super PACs associated with a variety of Republican politicians, including Scott Walker, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, George W. Bush, and Eric Cantor.
Hoping to benefit from Adelson’s largesse, potential 2016 Republican candidates including Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush gathered at Adelson’s casino to “kiss the ring.”
While Republicans’ efforts to court Adelson made big news in print media over the past week, none of the articles mentioning Adelson in The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, or The Wall Street Journal mentioned that he has come under investigation for illegal business practices, including bribery, or his history of extreme remarks.
A search of the Nexis and Factiva databases from March 24 to March 31 turned up several articles in the papers mentioning the billionaire, none of which mentioned Adelson’s checkered past. The New York Times called Adelson “one of the Republican Party’s most coveted and fearsome moneymen” and detailed his current fight against online gambling, while The Washington Post's March 25 preview of the event simply reported that Adelson was “driven by what he has said he sees as Obama’s socialist agenda. He is a fierce opponent of organized labor and is currently embroiled in a fight to ban online gambling.”
In 2012, Adelson’s corporation came under three different investigations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an anti-bribery statute. Additionally, the Times reported at the time that several of the company’s subsidiaries also “came under investigation by Chinese regulators.”
Adelson allegedly attempted to bribe the Chief Executive of Macau, where a substantial portion of his casino business was located, and reportedly instructed Sands Corp. to bribe a Macau legislator with about $700,000 in “legal fees.” (ProPublica reported that “several Las Vegas Sands executives resigned or were fired after expressing concerns” about the fee.) A former Sands Corp. executive also alleged that Adelson fired him after he refused to engage in illegal activity and protested the presence of Chinese organized crime syndicates in Sands’ Macau casinos.
Adelson initially insisted that he was being unfairly targeted, but Sands Corp.’s own audit committee ultimatelyadmitted there were “likely violations” of the anti-bribery law. And in August 2013, Sands Corp. agreed to pay the federal government more than $47 million in a settlement to resolve a separate money-laundering investigation, in which the casinos were accused of “accepting millions from high-rolling gamblers accused of drug trafficking and embezzlement.”
Adelson has been described as a “fervent Zionist” for his opposition to any Palestinian state, and his hatred of Islam goes so far that he has said ”You don’t have to worry about using the word ‘Islamo-fascism’ or ‘Islamo-terrorist,’ when that’s what they are. Not all Islamists are terrorists, but all the terrorists are Islamists.” He has suggested that all Palestinians “teach their children that Jews are descended from swine and apes, pigs and monkeys,” and said that “all they want to do is kill” Jews.
As Rick Perlstein has noted in Rolling Stone, Adelson is also vociferously opposed to unions. In 1999, when Adelson built a new casino, he failed to pay so many of his contractors that they filed a whopping 366 liens against the property, in addition to filing complaints with stage agencies and the FBI. When the new casino eventually opened, union workers protested outside — and Adelson twice demanded that police arrest the peaceful protestors (emphasis added):
Adelson told the cops to start making arrests; the cops refused. Glen Arnodo, an official at the union at the time, relates what happened next: “I was standing on the sidewalk and they had two security guards say I was on private property, and if I didn’t move they’d have to put me under ‘citizen’s arrest.’ I ignored them.” The guards once again told the police to arrest Arnodo and again, he says, they refused. The Civil Rights hero Rep. John Lewis, in town to support the rally, said the whole thing reminded him of living in the South during Jim Crow.
Afterwards, Adelson went so far as to allegedly attempt to pay off a hospital when it announced it would honor the head of the Vegas hotel workers union.
Adelson told The Wall Street Journal that the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill which would allow workers to unionize a workplace with majority sign-up, was “one of the two fundamental threats to society.” The other was radical Islam.
If print outlets are going to devote space to the fight among Republicans to win Adelson’s favor (and money), they owe it to readers to give a more accurate picture of the man holding the wallet.
Thanks to the high-profile battle over new abortion restrictions in Texas this past summer, the national media typically associates the Lone Star State with harsh abortion laws. The dire situation in Texas is certainly alarming for reproductive rights activists — but it’s hardly the only state where women’s access to abortion is under siege.
Ohio has recently dramatically tightened its restrictions on abortion, and the number of clinics in the state is dwindling. State lawmakers haven’t shown any signs of ceasing their politically-motivated attacks on reproductive health care. Yet unlike Texas, Ohio women’s fights haven’t garnered much widespread attention.
“Ohio is one of the most restrictive states in the U.S. when it comes to abortion care. Texas gets a lot of the press, but really, some of the laws that Texas is enacting are stolen from Ohio,” an abortion provider who practices in Ohio, speaking anonymously to protect her identity, told ThinkProgress in an interview earlier this month.
In 2011, Ohio enacted a ban on later abortions that prohibits doctors from ending a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless the fetus is nonviable. Since the new law doesn’t adequately distinguish between elective abortions and medically necessary abortions, that leaves some women who discover serious fetal abnormalities — which typically aren’t evident until later in pregnancy— in a difficult spot. They’re either forced to carry the doomed pregnancy to term, or doctors are forced to refer them out of state.
“Some of the only complaints I get from patients are when I have to turn them away. When I tell them, I’m sorry, I can’t help you, I know how to do the procedure and I could do it safely, but I can’t,” the anonymous Ohio provider told ThinkProgress. “It’s heartbreaking. People are begging you — as a physician, you know you can help them, but the only reason you can’t is because of a state law.”
On top of that, Ohio pushed through a package of stringent abortion restrictions this past summer by attaching them to an unrelated budget bill. The anti-choice groups in the state celebrated the passage of that legislation as “historic.” Some of the new restrictions are intended to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy, requiring their doctors to give them an opportunity to listen to the fetal heartbeat and tell them about the fetus’ likelihood of “surviving to full term.” Others are specifically aimed at abortion clinics, using a tactic known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) to indirectly undermine women’s access to the procedure.
Over-regulating abortion clinics is a popular anti-choice strategy, and Texas’ new TRAP law has grabbed headlines for forcing dozens of clinics to close. But Ohio’s TRAP law is actually even more stringent than the ones in place in other states.
TRAP laws typically take two different forms (and many states, like Texas, enact both versions). The first type requires abortion clinics to bring their building codes in line with the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, which typically involves costly and unnecessary updates like widening hallways and installing drinking fountains. The second type requires abortion doctors to enter into partnerships with local hospitals, in case one of their patients experiences severe complications and needs to be transferred to emergency care. These transfer agreements are totally superfluous, don’t indicate how skilled an abortion provider is, and are opposed by major medical groups.
Ohio’s version of the second type of TRAP law is unique. In addition to requiring abortion providers to make a transfer agreement with a local hospital, Ohio’s law forbids public hospitals from entering into those partnerships. That means the University of Toledo, which used to partner with the abortion clinics in the state’s fourth-largest city in order to allow them to stay open, can no longer play this role. That’s forcing multiple abortion clinics to close their doors even though they have a record of providing safe reproductive health care.
Ohio’s law also gives the governor considerable power to ensure that clinics are forced out out of business. It’s written in a way that allows the director of the state health department — a politically appointed position — to have the final say about whether clinics’ transfer agreements are good enough. Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, referred to the new clinic standards as “a regulatory witch hunt” when facilities first started shutting down this past fall.
Now, the women who live in Toledo and Cincinnati — some of the state’s most populous cities — are in danger of losing access to nearby abortion clinics altogether. Two clinics in the Cincinnati area are struggling to remain open, and if they’re unsuccessful, the region will become the largest metropolitan area in the country without an abortion clinic. Meanwhile, Toledo’s last abortion clinic is fighting to get the state health department to approve a transfer agreement with a private hospital located across the border in Michigan, but state officials appear poised to argue that Michigan hospitals don’t count as “local.”
As women in Ohio are facing mounting barriers to reproductive health services, they’re being forced to leave the state to get the care they need. Abortion clinics in neighboring Michigan have seen an influx in Ohio patients over the last several months. The facility located nearest to Toledo has even hired additional staff to accommodate the recent increase, and is worried about what will happen if Toledo’s last clinic shuts down. Not every woman can afford to make a trip across state lines.
Reproductive rights advocates in the state are well aware of what they’re up against.
“Governor John Kasich has enacted more restrictions on access to reproductive health care — including safe, legal abortion and family planning services — than any governor in memory. None of his policies will help prevent unintended pregnancy and therefore the need for abortion. In fact, quite the opposite,” NARAL’s Copeland told ThinkProgress in an email exchange. “And more anti-choice measures are pending in the Ohio Legislature. On top of all of that, Governor Kasich is abusing his regulatory authority in an attempt to close abortion clinics across Ohio.”
So why haven’t you heard more about Ohio? Because the abortion opponents there are doing a good job framing the situation on their terms and largely remaining under the radar.
“Ohio has become a laboratory for what anti-abortion leaders call the incremental strategy — passing a web of rules designed to push the hazy boundaries of Supreme Court guidelines without flagrantly violating them,” the New York Times reported in October. “These laws have passed without the national drama provoked by far-reaching abortion bans that were approved, then overturned in court, in states like Arkansas and North Dakota.”
Ohio Right to Life, the largest anti-choice group in the state, is hoping that this incremental approach will eventually end abortion in the state altogether. The group’s president, Mike Gonidakis, recently told Gannett Ohio that closing all of Ohio’s abortion clinics is well within the bounds of Roe v. Wade because women would still have “access” to clinics in other states.
“There is no law or court ruling about mileage or length of time to get to a clinic,” Gonidakis said.
And abortion opponents show no sign of stopping, indicating that they’ll continue to use the state’s regulatory system to accomplish that ultimate goal. This past week, anti-choice groups began calling for a larger investigation into Ohio’s abortion clinics, claiming that it’s “ironic” that reproductive rights advocates have complained about the harsh new clinic standards when “it appears that the regulations aren’t strict enough.”
Copeland told ThinkProgress that the state’s elected officials will eventually feel the consequences of their recent anti-abortion crusade. “Ohio women are fed up with politicians interfering with their medical decisions and they will make that known when they go to the polls in November,” Copeland noted.
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich is busy running for reelection, but that hasn’t stopped his former Fox News colleagues from promoting him as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. Fox News has praised Kasich’s tenure as governor, and touted him as “a serious potential candidate for president” with a record that gives progressives “reason to fear.”
Kasich is the quintessential Fox News candidate, having used a perch at the network to profitably stay in the public eye between runs for public office. He joined Fox in 2001 after serving nine terms in Congress and left in 2009 to run for Ohio governor. He was a frequent presence on the network as a guest host for The O’Reilly Factor, and the host of the programs From The Heartland and Heroes.
Fox News treated Kasich to numerous softball interviews during his successful 2010 run. Sean Hannity told Kasich during one such interview: “You do me a favor. Go get elected governor” and “You can help us. Win the state of Ohio.” During an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Kasich asked for donations while Fox News put his website address on-screen (which drew a complaint from the Democratic Governors Association).
Kasich’s gubernatorial campaign also received fundraising support from Fox News. Sean Hannity headlined a "high-dollar fund-raiser" for Kasich in October 2009. Mike Huckabee appeared at a 2009 Kasich campaign event. Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch and his then-wife contributed $20,000 to the campaign, and then-Fox News parent company News Corporation gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which helped elect Kasich.
Kasich has claimed he’s not interested in running for president in 2016, telling an Ohio reporter that he “tried to run for president back at the end of the ’90s and 2000 and no one was interested … Now, I’m not interested.” In his gubernatorial campaign, Kasich will likely face Democrat Ed FitzGerald, who has unsuccessfully askedKasich to sign a pledge promising to serve a full term if reelected.
A 2016 Kasich campaign has been a popular topic of conversation for Fox News. While the network frequently applauds Ohio’s economic performance during Kasich’s tenure, the state’s "rate of job growth was below the national average."
Fox News Sunday Anchor Chris Wallace: Kasich A “Serious Potential Candidate For President.”During his March 23 show, Wallace previewed Kasich’s segment by stating, “as the 2016 race for the White House heats up, one potential GOP candidate is counting his states’ economic turnaround.” Wallace later introduced Kasich by focusing on his presidential prospects:
WALLACE: With two years until the 2016 presidential election, there’s a lot of talk the strongest GOP nominee would be a governor from the Midwest. One possibility from the key electoral state of Ohio is making his state’s economic turnaround the basis for his re- election bid in November. Joining us now from Columbus, Ohio, Governor John Kasich and, governor, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.
Wallace’s first question to Kasich was about his tenure as Ohio governor, asking: “What is the secret to your success?” Wallace later asked Kasich about criticism from FitzGerald, including about whether he would pledge to serve his entire term (Kasich dodged the question).
While previewing his show on the March 20 broadcast of Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends, Wallace said Kasich has led a “big turnaround in the economy of Ohio” and he “really is a serious potential candidate for president in 2016 even though at this point he’s saying, ‘not interested.’”
FoxNews.com’s promotion of Kasich’s interview focused on Kasich and 2016:
Fox VP Cavuto: George Soros “Has Reason To Fear You” In 2016. Fox News host and vice president Neil Cavuto told Kasich on the March 18 edition of Your World that he’s heard “reports” that financier (and Media Matters donor) George Soros “fears you the most of any prospective candidate.” Cavuto then listed Kasich’s “success” as governor, and said Soros “has reason to fear you.” At the end of the interview, Kasich told Cavuto, “you’re the best.”
FoxNews.com Op-Ed: “Why Progressive, George Soros Crowd Fears Run By Ohio Governor.” Republican strategist and lobbyist Van Hipp wrote a March 7 piece touting Kasich’s tenure as governor as a “shining example” of “why the free enterprise system works.” Hipp added: “The more I thought about it, the more I realized why the George Soros crowd fears Kasich the most. They can’t demonize him and use the same old worn out liberal playbook they’ve used against national GOP contenders in recent years.”
Fox News Contributors Tout Kasich As Contender. Kasich has been mentioned by Fox News personalities during discussions about 2016 presidential candidates. Sean Hannity said on January 21 that he wants a president big field with Kasich, among others. Contributor George Will said on February 16’s Fox News Sunday that the race will be decided in the Midwest and said “you have to get three more presidential candidates out of those states — Governors Kasich in Ohio, Snyder in Michigan and Walker in Wisconsin.” And contributor Karl Rove also mentioned Kasich as a potential candidate on the January 13 edition of The O’Reilly Factor.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) had a sharp message Thursday for congressional Republicans, including those from his home state, opposed to Obamacare: “get over it.”
Writing in an op-ed published in the New York Times, Beshear acknowledged that Kentucky is a red state claiming two prominent Republican members of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. But Beshear argued even Republican governors like Arizona’s Jan Brewer, Ohio’s John Kasich and Michigan’s Rick Snyder have been able to accept Obamacare as “a tool for historic change” rather than “a referendum on President Obama.”
"So, to those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, ‘Get over it,’" he wrote. "The Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land."
"Get over it … and get out of the way so I can help my people."
Gov. Beshear hits the nose on this quote “Get Over It.”
“Don't be so humble, you're not that great.”: "Kasich Put Politics Before Women's Health: Fails to Use Veto Pen to Strike Dangerous Measures from State Budget" (Naral...
The five provisions that Governor Kasich signed into law today will:
- Create a new consent process for women seeking abortion care that forces a doctor to perform medically unnecessary tests and give medically ambiguous information about the viability of the pregnancy.
- Require that all ambulatory surgical centers have transfer agreements with hospitals and grant authority to the anti-choice director of the Ohio Department of Health to cherry-pick what constitutes a valid transfer agreement, or variance, for any reason. The budget also singles out and blocks public hospitals from having transfer agreements or allowing their doctors to use their admitting privileges to contract with abortion clinics.
- Reprioritize family planning funding to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning experts, many of whom serve the poor in rural counties. This will wreak havoc on tens of thousands of patients that rely on these facilities for cancer screenings, birth control and other basic health care, and could result in eleven counties losing access to subsidized family planning services entirely.
- Divert federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds intended to be used for cash support for mothers and their children to unregulated crisis pregnancy centers. A year-long investigation conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation into crisis pregnancy centers revealed widespread use of biased and medically inaccurate information.
- Ban rape crisis programs funded by state dollars from counseling rape victims about all their medical options if they get pregnant from the assault.
Ohio lawmakers are currently trying to pass a state budget, but many of the debates over the legislation have nothing to do with the state’s financial policies whatsoever. Abortion opponents have hijacked the budget negotiations to launch several attacks on women’s health, tacking on provisions that would defund Planned Parenthood, shut down abortion clinics, and redirect state funding to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers.” And the budget only continues to get worse for Ohio women.
On Tuesday, anti-abortion Republicans in the state added yet another budget provision related to reproductive health. The new amendment would require doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, presumably with an unnecessary ultrasound procedure, and then “notify the woman about the presence of the heartbeat.” Abortion doctors would also be required to tell women about the fetus’ likelihood of “surviving to full term.”
As the policy group Innovation Ohio notes, this language is borrowed from the controversial “heartbeat” ban that Ohio Republicans tried to push through last year. That radical legislation would have criminalized abortion after a fetal heartbeat could first be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant. Despite the fact that Republicans ultimately gave up on that measure at the end of last session, acknowledging it was too controversial to win support even among anti-choice groups, far-right abortion opponents vowed to keep trying.
Ohio’s budget bill passed out of committee on Tuesday night, and now heads to full votes in the House and Senate on Thursday. Both chambers are expected to approve it. At this point, Gov. John Kasich (R) is the only lawmaker who will be able to edit the budget bill — and, if he chooses, remove some of the abortion-related provisions. But so far, he hasn’t indicated that he’s willing to make any changes once the legislation lands on his desk.
“I think the legislature has a right to stick things in budgets and put policy in budgets… There’s nothing out of the ordinary here in the way in which they’ve decided this,” Kasich said on Wednesday when asked about the fetal heartbeat provision. He said he would make a decision about the bill when it gets closer to the July 1 deadline for its passage. “I’ll look at the language, keeping in mind that I’m pro-life,” the governor added.
Ohio Republicans are already attempting to hijack the state’s budget process to push for abortion restrictions, advancing a version of Gov. John Kasich’s budget bill that includes amendments to defund Planned Parenthood and shut down abortion clinics. But they’re not stopping there. Now, a group of 35 Republican lawmakers in the House have introduced an omnibus anti-abortion bill that combines some of the worst attacks on women’s reproductive health into a single measure.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has joined the growing list of Republican governors pushing income tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens of his state, and like those other governors, his plan would raise taxes on the poor to pay for it.
Kasich’s plan would cut income tax rates by 20 percent and some business tax rates in half, and it would pay for the plan by levying sales taxes on goods and services that were previously exempt. Since sales taxes are inherently regressive, Kasich’s plan would raise taxes on the poorest 60 percent of the state’s residents by as much as $77. The top 1 percent, though, would see an average tax cut of $10,369, according to an analysis by Policy Matters Ohio.
The poor in Ohio already pay more of their income in taxes than do the rich. The bottom fifth of Ohio taxpayers pay 11.6 percent of their income in taxes, while the top 1 percent pays an effective rate of 8.1 percent, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. That disparity exists because of sales taxes: the bottom 20 percent pay 6.7 percent of their income in sales taxes compared to just 1 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers.
Late last week more than a dozen Republican governors declared that they will not build the insurance market exchanges called for by the Affordable Care Act, including prominent names like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Perry of Texas.
On Monday, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma joined them, declaring in a statementthat it “does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that will ultimately be under the control of the federal government.”
The original deadline for states to notify the Department of Health and Human Services on whether they intend to build their own exchange was last Friday, but the administration extended it to Dec. 14. About a dozen Republican governors are weighing their options, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, Rick Scott of Florida and Terry Branstad of Iowa.
The decisions carry important implications for the long-term arc of Obamacare, which supporters and opponents alike agree is here to stay now that President Obama has been re-elected. The Obama administration wants states to build the exchanges so they have an incentive to make the law work. If the federal government takes over, state-level Republicans have a scapegoat in case things go wrong.
The more states stonewall the exchanges, the more it complicates the task of the federal government. One challenge is that the law lacks an automatic funding mechanism for HHS to set up state exchanges. Enrollment is slated to begin next October, and the exchanges are scheduled to start functioning by January 2014.
Twenty-three states, mostly Democratic, and Washington, D.C. have said they’ll move forwardwith the exchanges, either on their own or in partnership with the feds.
Propelling the GOP governors’ stance is a desire to protect themselves politically from accusations of abetting a law that conservatives fervently oppose. Some governors argue that the regulations are too stifling and provide little flexibility for them to construct the marketplaces in accordance with their states’ needs.
h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM
My recap of the RNC: Day 1
Here is my recap of the RNC for the 1st night.
REMINDER: Scott Walker promised his right-wing policies would create 250K jobs. He’s way way way off schedule thkpr.gs/RkMPSt— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) August 29, 2012
FUN FACT: Ted Cruz opposes the Voting Rights Act thkpr.gs/RkMPSt— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) August 29, 2012
Ann Romney knows a lot of struggling people. Her husband shipped their jobs overseas.— Paul Conrad (@Paul_Conrad) August 29, 2012
.@maddow calls Chris Christie’s speech “One of the most remarkable acts of political selfishness that I have ever seen”— msnbc (@msnbc) August 29, 2012
Worst Persons: B: Ann Romney. S: Chris Christie. G: Nikki Haley
WASHINGTON — A trio of female firsts and three former GOP presidential contenders are among the first speakers disclosed for August’s Republican National Convention.
The GOP convention schedule is packed with high-profile names to fire up divergent wings of the Republican Party, from social conservatives to fiscal hawks. They will speak ahead of Mitt Romney’s formal acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination.
Convention leaders were not ready to announce the keynote speaker, a prime speaking slot that has the potential to catapult a rising member of the party to national prominence.
The schedule’s outlines were first reported by The Tampa Bay Times late Sunday and were confirmed to The Associated Press by Republican officials with direct knowledge of the plan. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because convention officials had not yet announced the schedule.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the first female governors of their states, are among party leaders slated to address the gathering that begins Aug. 27. Martinez has the additional distinction of being the first female Hispanic governor in the country.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first black female to hold that job, is also scheduled to speak.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona was set to speak, as well as a one-time rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The two, along with Romney, vied for the 2008 presidential nomination, with McCain outlasting both Romney and the former Baptist pastor in the primary campaign.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are both big names in the party believed to be among those Romney is weighing for the vice presidential slot or for the keynote address. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also were noticeably absent from the slate of announced speakers and may be contenders for running mate.
If passed over for the vice presidential pick, there is a very good chance they would earn speaking slots – if not the keynote.
The speakers already announced suggest where Romney is looking to make progress as voters start to pay attention to the fall campaign.
Martinez, who made history in her state and nationally when she was elected, could appeal to Hispanic women, a sizable demographic that broke for Obama four years ago. She can also address voters who feel securing the nation’s Southern border is a top concern.
Among tea party supporters, Romney will get a boost from Kasich. His home state of Ohio is a linchpin of Romney’s strategy and no Republican has won the White House without carrying the perennial Midwestern battleground. No Democrat has won without winning Ohio since John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960.
Florida is another key state for both campaigns’ path to the White House. Florida’s Gov. Scott will address the convention, customary when the incumbent governor’s party hosts the convention.
Democrats have rolled out their own convention schedule in recent weeks. Marking a first for Hispanics, the Democrats chose the mayor of San Antonio to deliver the keynote address in Charlotte, N.C.
Across the country, Republican governors, many of them elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, have undermined women’s health, crushed workers’ right to negotiate collectively, made it tougher to vote and imposed ideologically informed slash-and-burn policies on their populations, often with little attention from the mainstream media. Where are they now? Culling voter rolls, beating up on unions, trying to sneakily ban abortion—but also, in some cases, having their power checked by a determined opposition and being forced to concede some defeats. And in a couple of cases, they’re under investigation. Here’s our 2012 list of the worst GOP governors.
10. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania
Corbett didn’t make our list last time around, but this year, the Pennsylvania governor has made up for lost time. His attacks on public education alone make him worthy of our Hall of Shame, but coupled with a massive tax break for Shell Oil—$1.7 billion in subsidies for the oil giant—his comments about taking responsibility for future generations ring awfully hollow.
"The governor’s proposal violates his own belief that the free market, and not government, should pick winners and losers," George Jugovic Jr., president of PennFuture, told The Morning Call. “
9. Nikki Haley, South Carolina
Fresh from campaigning in Wisconsin for her fellow union-buster Scott Walker, Nikki Haley is headed home, triumphant—to an ethics investigation.
Corey Hutchins at the Columbia Free Times writes:Subpoenas could be fluttering all over Columbia this week as an ethics panel investigating whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied as a lawmaker decides who to call as witnesses in the case.
On May 30, the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reopen an investigation into the governor. The six-member panel had previously voted that there was probable cause to investigate, but then immediately dismissed the charges. After further consideration, and new information from GOP activist John Rainey, who filed the complaint, they’re giving it a deeper look.
She’s also been rebuked by her state’s Supreme Court chief justice over a plan, approved by her appointees at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, to dredge the Savannah River to make it bigger for bigger ships.
8. Jan Brewer, Arizona
Jan Brewer made her name attacking immigrants, but she’s got plenty of other moves under her belt. In recent months, she cheerfully signed a bill cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood, and topped that off with possibly the worst anti-abortion bill in the country. Opponents call it the “Life Begins at Menstruation” bill because it bans abortions after 20 weeks, but claims that those 20 weeks start at the woman’s last menstrual period.
Brewer also joined the club of GOP governors who like kicking around public employees. She moved to offer public workers their first raise in years—but only if they agreed to trade in all their job security and let her fire them on a whim. She also signed a bill expanding school vouchers for Arizona students, giving public funds to parents to pay for private schools.
In a bit of good news, a judge did reject Brewer’s bid to dismiss legal challenges to the state’s infamous anti-immigrant law.
Oh, and she wants a third term.
7. Paul LePage, Maine
"To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job," Maine Governor Paul LePage told the Republican State Convention in May.
The governor wants to impose his own form of welfare “reform” on the state in the middle of an ongoing jobs crisis—and he’s even willing to make up stories and fudge numbers to get his way. And what does he consider “welfare”? Everything from disability benefits to MaineCare (the state’s version of Medicaid — healthcare for low-income people). His Medicaid cuts alone could hit 65,000 people.
6. Chris Christie, New Jersey
Chris Christie likes to bluster and swagger – it’s sort of his calling card. He’s frequently caught saying awful things—like a comment he made this winter on a marriage equality referendum. Christie said, “The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”
But what’s he really up to? Well, he’s getting sued, for one thing, for unilaterally pulling New Jersey out of a 10-state initiative aimed at curbing air pollution from power plants. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey filed a lawsuit, claiming the move violates a state law that required Christie to notify the public of his intent to pull out and allow for a public comment period
And teachers, who Christie famously called “political thugs,” are still on his hit list, though so far, his education agenda has been stalled. He’s trying to get rid of teacher tenure, making it easier to fire teachers and cut down on state aid for public schools, as well as push charter schools.
One teacher, however, has taken her fight to another level—Marie Corfield, the teacher in the famous YouTube video sparring with Christie over his education policies, just won a Democratic primary for a state assembly seat. Should she win, she’ll have a lot more opportunities to fight Christie’s attacks on teachers.
5. Rick Perry, Texas
Everyone knows where Rick Perry was for most of the last year, right? Failing in his attempt to capture the GOP presidential nomination. At least he provided us with some much-needed comic relief.
But a few things he got up to– when he wasn’t making headlines with ridiculous statements – flew somewhat under the national media’s radar.
Last year, Perry slashed $4 billion from schools, and protests against continued education cuts are ongoing. A Texas schoolteacher told AlterNet that after budget cuts, more kids are being squeezed into classrooms: “Pre-K is up to 26 now that they can have in a classroom, it went up from 22. It’s a different ratio for different grade levels. It’s 30-something for high school, it’s approaching 30 at the elementary level, which is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous to be expected to teach that many little people.”
4. John Kasich, Ohio
Governor Kasich took a big hit when voters decisively overturned his signature piece of legislation, an anti-public-union bill even nastier than Scott Walker’s, by 313,000 more votes than the governor himself had gotten the year before. And now there are investigations underway into whether he’s misused his power to consolidate control over his state’s Republican party.
But what else has Kasich been up to?
He also backed down on a contentious voter suppression law that would have narrowed early voting and made it harder for voters to get absentee ballots, signing a repeal of the law in an attempt to prevent it becoming a ballot measure that could drive progressive voters in November.
And he’s looking forward to a new law that would allow fracking in Ohio—one that might be the nation’s worst.
3. Rick Snyder, Michigan
Rick Snyder may be facing his own recall election—or at least, a group of determined voters who’d like to challenge the Michigan governor. Perhaps that’s why he’s allowed a tiny increase in the state’s education budget this year. But there’s a catch: those budget increases are tied to performance.
Snyder is best known for his state’s “emergency manager” law, which grants him the power to appoint a manager over towns he deems in need of an overhaul. Revamped under Snyder, the law gives the managers unilateral authority to fire officials, close schools, void union contracts (an apparent violation of the Constitution’s Contracts Clause), and hand schools over to private charter companies.
He’s still defending the law—and almost brought it to bear on Detroit. (The city’s public school system has been under emergency management for a while, but not the city itself.)
2. Scott Walker, Wisconsin
We know you’re sick of hearing about Scott Walker. Yes, he won his recall election and gets to stay in power—though it appears he won’t have the state senate to do his bidding anymore, if election results in Racine hold.
1. Rick Scott, Florida
Governor Scott, who reigns over the state synonymous with voter suppression and rigged elections in the minds of many Americans, is doing his best to live up to Florida tradition.
AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld explained:Progressive voting rights groups and even county election supervisors from Scott’s own party are saying the businessman-turned-governor’s latest gambit—claiming there are as many as 182,000 non-citizens among the state’s 11.2 million registered voters and having his appointed Secretary of State send out an initial list of 2,600 names to be purged—has crossed a line in the Florida sand, topping previous voter suppression efforts, and may violate two federal voting right laws.
The Justice Department told Scott to stop purging voters, and several voters have been reinstated, but the GOP has no plans to actually give up its purge — Steve Rosenfeld reports that Florida is making all sorts of bizarre accusations against DoJ officials who are simply trying to uphold the law.
Ohio Governor John Kasich on Saturday rejected an offer of federal aid for his tornado-stricken state that could have amounted to millions of dollars in payments and loans. Neighboring Kentucky and Indiana have already expressed their gratitude for the aid and have welcomed the arrival of FEMA teams for an initial evaluation of damage.
“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich told Clermont County storm victims who had taken shelter in a local high school.
Clermont County officials did not share Kasich’s confidence. County Commissioner Bob Proud suggested that the state could probably handle the cleanup but that federal aid might be needed to provide temporary housing for residents who have lost their homes.
County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Lane was considerably blunter, suggesting that the Republican governor was simply trying to score political points. “I question his judgment,” Lane stated. “It would appear at first blush that he’s probably playing politics.”