Thursday, September 14, 2023

Last Call For The Romneybot Exits Program, Or, Halt And Catch Liar

Sen. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 and the only member of his party to twice vote to convict former president Donald Trump in politically charged impeachment trials, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a second term in the Senate representing Utah, saying in an interview that it is time for a new generation to “step up” and “shape the world they’re going to live in.”
Romney, 76, said his decision not to run again was heavily influenced by his belief that a second term, which would take him into his 80s, probably would be less productive and less satisfying than the current term has been. He blamed that both on the disarray he sees among House Republicans and on his own lack of confidence in the leadership of President Biden and Trump.

“It’s very difficult for the House to operate, from what I can tell,” he said in a lengthy telephone interview previewing his formal announcement, “and two, and perhaps more importantly, we’re probably going to have either Trump or Biden as our next president. And Biden is unable to lead on important matters and Trump is unwilling to lead on important matters.”

Romney, elected to the Senate in 2018 with 63 percent of the vote, said he will serve out the duration of his term, which ends in January 2025. His decision not to seek reelection next year is likely to mark the end of a political career that has been notable, especially in the Trump era, for independence and a willingness to stand up against the base of his party that has shifted dramatically in Trump’s direction in the decade since Romney was its standard-bearer.

From the time Trump first became a candidate until today, Romney has been among his most outspoken critics, and nothing about his departure is expected to change that. In the weeks before Trump’s 2017 inauguration, Romney publicly acquiesced, expressing hope for the president-elect’s leadership while he was under consideration to be secretary of state. But his turnabout was short-lived.

Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump in the 2020 impeachment trial, which involved Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign and withholding aid to that country. Romney was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict in the second trial, which came weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Both votes, but especially the first, cost Romney politically, at home in Utah and more broadly within a party that Trump has come to dominate. He acknowledged the damage he had sustained, but said, “If there were no cost to doing what’s right, there’d be no such thing as courage. … I think it’s fair to say that the support I get in Utah is because people respect someone who does what they believe is right, even if they disagree with me.”

Republicans have speculated that because of his opposition to Trump, Romney could face a difficult battle to win a second term if he decided to run again. But the senator said fear of losing had nothing to do with his decision. In fact, he said, he was confident that, had he decided to run again, he would prevail. He pointed to a recent poll in Utah that showed his approval rebounding to 56 percent, a sharp rise from the 40 percent recorded in May and numbers showing him well ahead of potential rivals.

The highest-achieving Mormon politician of his time, Romney twice sought the presidency and served as governor of Massachusetts before moving to Utah and being elected to the Senate. His father, George, was a governor of Michigan, ran unsuccessfully for president in 1968 and served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Richard M. Nixon.
And as just about every other Republican in my lifetime has done, is doing, and will do in the future, Romney's choice was do nothing to fix the problems their party created over that lifetime, and blame the Democrats for it while holding the blowtorch and kicking over the 55-gallon drum of flammable accelerant.
Romney had 20 years in government to do better, and at every opportunity he chose not to, and now he's choosing to bail out of the plane he's helped to crash again and again, failing his father's legacy whenever he could.

Most of all, wherever Romney did the right thing, like MassCare when he was Governor there two decades ago, he just disavowed it later.

What a failure of a career. Even when he won, he lost.

Florida Goes Viral, Con't

The FDA has new guidance on the latest Covid booster vaccine, approving and recommending the booster for all Americans over six months in age, and once again, Florida's MAGA nutjob Surgeon General David Ladapo is telling Florida residents under 65 not to get vaccinated at all.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ hand-picked surgeon general on Wednesday warned healthy adults under the age of 65 against taking a new Covid-19 booster, contradicting the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration.

Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, speaking during a roundtable that DeSantis hosted, said that after three years of Covid, most healthy people don’t need to worry about getting infected from a virus that has killed more than 1 million people across the country. Ladapo is a well-known vaccine skeptic who has claimed some shots pose risks to healthy young men.

“With the amount of immunity that’s in the community — with virtually every walking human being having some degree of immunity, and with the questions we have about safety and about effectiveness, especially about safety, my judgment is that it’s not a good decision for young people and for people who are not at high risk at this point in the pandemic,” he said.

Previous guidance by Ladapo about Covid-19 vaccine safety has been widely rejected by the medical community. Daniel Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, said Wednesday it appeared that Ladapo and the others at the roundtable were selectively highlighting data to show problems with the new boosters.

“In general, they’re cherry-picking data and facts and science,” Salmon said. “And I think that they’re there, because they don’t want to recommend this vaccine for Florida.”

Jason Salemi, an epidemiology professor at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, said there are plenty of credible studies showing that healthy people under the age of 65 are still at risk of death from Covid-19.

“Equipping ourselves with and implementing mitigation measures can result in considerably less severe illness, less long Covid, and less mortality, all with little impact on our day-to-day lives,” Salemi wrote in an email. “So, there is clearly a need.”

The CDC and FDA this week gave the green light for two new vaccine boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which are recommended for people ages 6 months and up.

Ladapo, a well-known vaccine skeptic, has gone even further. Last year, he warned young men against taking the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, suggesting that they increase the risk of cardiac-related deaths. POLITICO later revealed that Ladapo personally altered a state study to imply that the vaccines pose a health risk to young men. He highlighted that study when asserting that some Covid vaccines are dangerous for young men. 

He lied to make the Covid vaccines look more dangerous than they were, got caught, and nothing happened. And now, he's lying again, and putting thousands of Floridians at risk of dying from Covid.

This is what I mean when I say Republicans will kill everyone you know if it means they can "own the libs."

Shutdown Countdown, Clown Town Edition

Usually as we head into the last half of September, we have the annual spending bill battle where Republicans and Democrats work it out and fund the government for another year. Only one problem this time around, and that's because House GOP Speaker Kevin McCarty is such an absolute paperweight of uselessness that the House GOP hasn't managed to pass any spending bills at all, and that the country is headed for an economic nightmare again.
House GOP leaders have abandoned efforts to pass an agriculture funding bill amid an intraparty row over abortion policy. Now, Speaker Kevin McCarthy is left without critical leverage as the Democratic-majority Senate advances its own plans and Congress hurtles toward a federal shutdown Oct. 1.

House GOP leaders had hoped that inserting abortion policy into every major piece of their government spending plans would help win over conservative members and placate influential outside groups agitating for more aggressive action on the issue. But so far, the move has helped to seal the demise of what is usually among the easiest appropriations bills for Congress to pass, drawing fierce and rare pushback from more than a dozen moderate Republicans.

At the center of the battle: a GOP provision in the agriculture funding bill to ban mail delivery of abortion pills nationwide. Divisions over the move, along with disagreement over the total spending levels, forced senior Republicans to scuttle a planned House vote on the bill that funds the USDA and Food and Drug Administration at the end of July. Discussions to revive the bill over the August recess failed, according to three people who were granted anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Now, Republican leaders have no plans to bring the bill to the floor vote amid the time crunch, the three people familiar with the talks confirmed. That leaves the Democratic-controlled Senate — which is advancing its own, very different version of the Agriculture and FDA funding bill as part of a “minibus” spending package this week — in a far stronger negotiating position when it comes time to hammer out a compromise spending bill to fund the government.

“It’s dead, dead,” one of the people familiar with the talks said, describing the fate of the House USDA and FDA funding bill, and, for now, the ban on mail delivery of abortion pills House Republicans have been pushing.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, said agriculture was important “on both sides of the aisle” but that Agriculture Department and FDA funding will likely be hammered out in talks with the Senate. The focus now, the Montana Republican said, should be elsewhere.

“We gotta get the border done,” Zinke said.

While GOP leaders anticipated pushback on the spending proposals from their right flank — including pressure for deeper spending cuts and tougher border security measures — they’ve also faced rare public pushback from moderate Republicans, who have dug in against their abortion strategy. In particular, those moderates have objected to the provision in the Agriculture and FDA spending bill to ban mail delivery of abortion pills, which have become a major flashpoint since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade last year. Approved for use up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, the pills have become the most common method of abortion in the U.S. but battles over the drugs continuing to play out in courts, state legislatures and on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.), who represents a district President Joe Biden won in 2020, said in an interview earlier this summer that he “cannot vote for the bill” as long as it includes the abortion pill rider. Fellow New York Republican Mike Lawler, who also hails from a Biden district, told POLITICO the abortion pill policy “should be dealt with at the state level.”

Those GOP moderates are eager to see controversial abortion provisions and other divisive provisions included the House’s other spending bills tossed out as House GOP leaders turn to crafting a larger funding package and reconciling it with the Senate.

In other areas of the spending fight, House Republicans’ Financial Services draft funding bill would block Washington, D.C., from using its own money to support abortion services and ban insurance coverage of either abortion or gender-affirming care for federal employees. Their Labor-HHS-Education spending bill would ban federal funding for medical research using fetal tissue and bar Planned Parenthood from participating in any federal programs. And their State-Foreign Operations spending bill would ban funding to any group overseas that provides abortions or information about the procedure.

The House’s Defense spending bill, which recently drew a veto threat from the White House over its anti-abortion provisions among other measures, is also in trouble. A floor vote on the GOP bill, which would block funding for service members to travel for an abortion if they’re stationed in a state where the procedure is banned, is now in jeopardy.

“A number of us would like to see the stickier social issues presented as individual amendments,” said Rep. John Duarte, a Republican who represents a blue district in California.

The fight comes as Republicans continue to struggle to unite around a strategy and message on abortion more than a year after the fall of Roe v. Wade. And Democrats plan to lean heavily on the issue in the 2024 campaign.
In other words, the House GOP can't even pass its own bills at this point, which means the Senate is in charge, the deals will be made with the Democrats, and McCarthy will have to eat bowl after bowl of turd flakes, resulting in his eventual ouster next month as he gets the Boehner Special. 
And note it's not the right-wing MAGA trolls dropping out of this bill, it's the House Republicans in Blue and purple states who know if they vote to end shipping of abortion meds by mail that they're done.

Who knows who will replace him, but I don't see him surviving as Speaker for much longer. Maybe Gaetz or Stefanik? Steve Scalise? 

We'll see.
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