My Republican Haggadah: An oldie but goodie

Editor’s Note: This “Republican Haggadah” first appeared in the Huffington Post in 2012. However, except for the references to the 2012 Presidential election the humor is timeless. Enjoy!

— by Steve Sheffey

Jewish history is littered with sects, groups of people kind of like Jews who celebrate the same holidays and have many of the same customs, yet are somehow different.

Today’s sect is known as “Jewish Republicans,” few in number but very loud. Like most Jews, they celebrate Pesach, but they’ve got their own Haggadah. The differences between their Haggadah and ours are instructive.

After drinking the first cup of wine, most Jews wash their hands, but the Republicans stay seated and wait for the water to trickle down.

Most Jews then eat a green vegetable, but the Republican Haggadah follows the ruling of Rabbi Reagan that ketchup qualifies as a vegetable. Ketchup is not green, but green is the last thing any Republican would want to be. (Reagan does have this in common with Moses: Neither ever set foot in the land of Israel.)

More after the jump.
Next we break the middle of the three matzot. Most Jews break the middle matzah into two roughly equal pieces, replacing the smaller piece on the Seder plate and hiding the larger piece as the afikoman. The Republican Haggadah asks the leader (or in Republican parlance, the Seder CEO) to keep 99 percent of the matzah for himself and let the other participants share the remaining 1 percent.

The Torah speaks of four sons, but the Republican Haggadah speaks of four candidates: The simple candidate (Santorum), the wicked candidate (Paul), the candidate who does not know how to answer (Romney), and the simple candidate who thinks he’s the wise candidate (Gingrich). They have no wise candidates.

The highlight of the Republican Haggadah is its version of “Dayenu” — “it would have been enough.” The Republican motto when it comes to President Obama is “nothing is enough” — no matter how much President Obama does for Israel, it’s never enough for some of our Republican friends:

President Obama has called for the removal of Syrian President Assad.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama ordered the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama has done more than any other president to stop Iran’s illicit nuclear program.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama restored Israel’s qualitative military edge after years of erosion under the Bush administration.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama increased security assistance to Israel to record levels.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama boycotted Durban II and Durban III.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama has taken U.S.-Israel military and intelligence cooperation to unprecedented levels.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama cast his only veto in the U.N. against the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama opposed the Goldstone Report.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama organized a successful diplomatic crusade against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama immediately intervened to rescue Israelis trapped in the Egyptian embassy.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama gave orders to give Israel “whatever it needs” to put out the Carmel fire.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama maintained the U.S. policy of ambiguity on Israel’s nuclear weapons.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama has repeatedly condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel and attempts to delegitimize Israel.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama pulled out of joint exercises with Turkey after Turkey excluded Israel.
But that’s not enough for our Republican friends.

There’s probably nothing President Obama can do to convince some Republicans that he’s pro-Israel. If President Obama split the Sea of Reeds and walked through it dry-shod, they’d accuse him of not being able to swim. They made their mind up before he was elected that he could not be trusted and they ignore everything that contradicts their biases.

The ultimate message of the real Haggadah is hope (sound familiar?). Let’s hope that just as the vast majority of American Jews voted for Barack Obama in 2008, the vast majority of us will remember who we are and what we value and vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012.

If Only Anne Frank Had Been Packing A Luger

Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher (R-OH) campaign video offensively blames Holocaust on gun control.


— by David A. Harris

Using the memories of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust to make a political point is never appropriate, under any circumstances. For Ohio Republican House candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher to imply that these innocent lives were taken because of gun control laws is simply beyond the pale. Wurzelbacher — who is just the latest in a long line of Republicans who seem to think it is acceptable to use the Holocaust for political gain-must apologize and remove this offensive video immediately.”

With this video, Wurzelbacher joins the ranks of other Republicans such as presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, Governor Rick Scott (R-FL), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Representatives Allen West (R-FL), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Trent Franks (R-AZ), WV Senate candidate John Raese and FL House candidate Adam Hasner who have shamefully abused the Holocaust to make political points.

Hunter Walker of the New York Observer reported today:

Samuel ‘Joe The Plumber’ Wurzelbacher, the 2008 campaign microcelebrity and Ohio congressional candidate, has an interesting theory about the Holocaust. Yesterday, Mr. Wurzelbacher released a campaign web video in which he blamed the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide on gun control laws.

‘In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917 one-point-five million Armenians, unable to defend themselves were exterminated,’ Mr. Wurzelbacher says in the clip. ‘In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.’

Mr. Wurzelbacher’s video features footage of him on a shooting rage blasting fruits and vegetables with a shotgun. As the clip draws to a close, Mr. Wurzelbacher, gun in hand, proclaims, ‘I love America.’

The description of the video describes gun ownership as ‘our last line of defense’ from tyranny and poses a rather existential question about Mr. Wurzelbacher’s produce shooting hobby.

‘If you hunt or just like shooting guns, the 2nd Amendment will always be a good thing. History also tells us it’s our last line of defense in the face of an out-of-control government,’ the description says. ‘And killing fruits and vegetables is… what?’


And They’re Off: First Ads of the General Election

Forward

Swiss Bank Account: It’s just what you’d expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account.

Today, Newt Gingrich officially suspended his campaign leaving the field clear for the two presumptive nominees Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to focus all of their attention on each other, and that they did!

The Obama camp preempted any potential Gingrich endorsement with a biting web video entitled “Newt Gingrich: Frankly, not Mitt Romney’s Biggest Supporter” (see below). Yesterday, they release a video celebrating the anniversary Osama bin Laden’s death. Now they have a video celebrating the fact that GM is still alive.

The Obama campaign responded to a salvo from the Romney campaign with their first TV commercial of the season. The ad entitled “Swiss Bank Account” is being shown in Virginia, Ohio and Iowa. The campaign also released an infographic to go along with that highlighting Mitt Romney’s assets secreted around the globe.

Mitt Romney has invested his money around the world, from the Cayman Islands to Ireland to Australia. We don’t know if he’s using these accounts to avoid paying his fair share in taxes, but we do know that in 2010, Romney’s tax rate was a startlingly low 13.9%. This means Romney pays a lower tax rate than many teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other middle-class Americans-even a lower rate than most other millionaires.

Infographic and web video follow the jump.

John Raise (R-WV) Smoking Restrictions Like Holocaust

Last week West Virginia Republican Senate Candidate John Raese made an insensitive comparison between the Holocaust and smoking restrictions:

I don’t want government telling me what I can do and what I can’t do because I’m an American. But in Monongalia County you can’t smoke a cigarette, you can’t smoke a cigar, you can’t do anything. And I oppose that because I believe in everybody’s individual freedoms and everybody’s individual rights to do what they want to do and I’m a conservative and that’s the way that goes.

But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke free environment. This is brought to you by the government of Monongalia County.  Ok?

Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing.

Yesterday — which was Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 19, 2012 — Raise doubled down defending his obscene remarks:

No, this is not a standard line, nor a misstatement. It is a loss of freedom. As Ronald Reagan once said, there is no such thing as partial freedom, there is only freedom.

NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris commented:

Comparing smoking restrictions to the Holocaust is never acceptable on any day of the year. But for West Virginia Republican Senate candidate John Raese to apparently defend those comments on Holocaust Remembrance Day takes the insensitivity and callousness of his remarks to the next level. Raese-who is just the latest Republican to use this type of inappropriate rhetoric-must apologize immediately and quit defending his offensive remarks.

 
With this remark, Raese joins the ranks of other Republicans such as

who have shamefully abused the Holocaust to make political points.

Breaking News: Santorum Wins Big In Louisiana

Rick Santorum wins with 49.1% of the Louisiana vote winning every parish save one. Mitt Romney comes a distant second with 26.6% of the vote. Newt Gingrich scores a disappointing 15.9% of the vote, and fails to collect any delegates. Newt vows to continue his campaign despite running out of Southern states that look as favorable as Louisiana perhaps ought to have been for him. Finally, Ron Paul brings up the rear with 6.1%.
 
Color Key  
Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No Votes: Black.
No vote yet: Grey.


States Won
Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH GU MP AS HI PR IL
Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO TN OK ND KS AL MS LA
Newt Gingrich: SC GA
Ron Paul: VI

Next Contests  
Apr  3: MD DC WI  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

Another Off-Shore Victory For The Off-Shore Banker

Missouri

This Saturday, Republicans voted again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. Most Caucuses feature two events. A Presidential preference vote where people select the candidate of their choice, and a second vote in which each voters select one of their neighbors to represent them at the County level. The first vote is the vote which everyone talks about on TV, but it is the second vote that actually counts. Everything boils down to delegates. The networks guess the delegate counts will be similar to the Presidential preference vote, but that is unclear. It depends on whose supporters actually stay to the end of the meeting  for that final vote, and it depends on how the county convention goes one or two months later.

Missouri is unique in that the Presidential preference vote did not occur yesterday on caucus night but occurred rather last month. Romney belittled Santorum’s victory at that time saying that no delegates were at stake, but the contest yesterday was impossible for the major networks to clearly report on, so they basically ignored it.

Missouri allows each county to set its own rules. The resulting confusion led to turmoil at several sites. In St. Charles County, the caucus was cancelled and a Ron Paul supporter was arrested amid disputes over the rules. See video above.

The moral is that estimating delegate counts is premature before the dust settles and the county and district conventions play out.

Puerto Rico
Today, Romney scored an impressive victory in Puerto Rico hitting the 50% threshold necessary to lock up all 20 delegates for himself. (Puerto Rico and some states have a rule whereby you win all of the delegates if you get a majority of the votes. If no one gets a majority of the vote, then the delegates are divided proportionately among those who get at least 15%. Thus it is a big deal if you hit 50%.)

Santorum had announced that he favored statehood for Puerto Rico only if it made English its sole official language. However, 95% of Puerto-Ricans speak Spanish at home, so this was not a popular stand for Rick Santorum to take. See our Q&A for more information on the voting in the various US Territories.

Debates
A debate was originally scheduled for tomorrow evening. However, Romney withdrew and the debate was cancelled. No more debates are currently on the primary calendar.

Illinois
Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 92% chance of winning this Tuesday in the Illinois primary. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.

The Romney campaign had been challenging Santorum signature petitions in several Illinois counties. BuzzFeed reported that the Romney campaign dropped these challenges. It was not immediately clear why they called off their lawyers, but now Politico reports that Santorum had countered that Romney’s signature petitions were all notarized in Boston while Illinois law requires that they be notarized in Illinois. Continuing the legal battles may have invalidated Romney’s candidacy throughout Illinois, so the two campaigns called a legal truce.

Louisiana
Then this Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 79% chances of winning there.

 Other Key Dates
  • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
  • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
  • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
  • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
  • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

Color Key  
Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No votes: Black.
Yet to vote: Grey.


States Won
Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH GU MP AS HI PR
Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO TN OK ND KS AL MS
Newt Gingrich: SC GA
Ron Paul: VI

Next Contests  
Mar 20: IL
Mar 24: LA
Apr  3: MD DC WI  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

Deep South Votes: Santorum Wins, Gingrich Places, Romney Shows

Today, Republicans voted in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa.

  • Santorum won the Alabama primary with 34.5%, Gingrich came second with 29.3%, just ahead of Romney with 29.0%, and Paul scored 5.0%.
  • Santorum won the Mississippi primary with 32.9%, Gingrich 31.3%, Romney 30.3%, and Paul 4.4%.
  • Romney won the Hawaii caucus with 45.4%. Santorum came with 25.3%. Paul was third with 18.3% winning the largest island while Romney won the smaller islands.
  • No vote totals are available from the US Territory of American Samoa, but Romney is projected to win all 9 delegates.
    Update: Only 70 Republicans participating in the caucus since “it’s rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don’t run on party lines.” This means that 13% of caucus goers in American Samoa will be eligible to vote at the Republican National Convention!

Speculation is increasing that Newt Gingrich may drop out of the race. He will probably suspend his campaign and keep his pledged delegates in order to give himself an important role at the Republican National Convention.

  • This Saturday, Republicans will vote again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. No delegates were awarded in the primary, but Santorum hopes to repeat his success in the Missouri caucus.
  • On Sunday, Puerto Rico will be the final US Territory to vote.
  • This is quickly followed by the Illinois primary on Tuesday. Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 71% to 75% chance of winning in Illinois. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.
  • Then the following Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 72% to 85% chances of winning there.
     Other Key Dates
    • Cancelled PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm ET, Portland, OR
    • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
    • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
    • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
    • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
    • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
    • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

    Color Key  
    Romney: Orange
    Santorum: Green
    Gingrich: Purple
    Paul: Gold
    Rick Perry: Blue
    Not voted: Grey


    States Won
    Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH GU MP AS HI
    Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO-primary TN OK ND KS AL MS
    Newt Gingrich: SC GA
    Ron Paul: VI

    Next Contests  
    Mar 17: MO-caucus
    Mar 18: PR
    Mar 20: IL
    Mar 24: LA
    Apr  3: MD DC WI  
    Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
    May  8: IN NC WV
    May 15: NE OR
    May 22: AR KY
    May 29: TX
    Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
    Jun 26: UT


For Sleeper Candidate The End May Be Near After All


According to the odds makers at inTrade, Speaker Newt Gingrich is more likely than not to be the next Republican candidate to drop out.

It seems not too long ago that Gingrich was viewed (at least by himself) as the inevitable nominee:

Jake Tapper interview of Newt Gingrich, Dec. 1, 2011
Tapper: You are going to be the nominee?
Gingrich: I’m going to be the nominee. It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.

What caused this change of fortunes? Why does it look now like Newt Gingrich may suspend his campaign.

  • Georgia: Before Super Tuesday, Newt Gingrich said winning his home state of Georgia would be critical to continuing his campaign as a serious candidate. On Tuesday, he bettered his opponents, but failed to secure a majority. According to Eric Ostermeier, Gingrich’s anemic result (47% of the vote) “ties John McCain for the second lowest home state tally for a major GOP presidential candidate since 1972, besting only Pat Robertson.” As our readers will recall, neither McCain nor Robertson went on to be elected President.
  • Kansas: Unlike Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Gingrich cannot call Kansas his home. Kansas will be voting this Saturday (along with 3 US Territories) and Gingrich had hoped to contest this state and planned an extensive campaign schedule accordingly. However, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday that Gingrich has cancelled all of his appearances in that state. He no longer had a realistic chance of prevailing in Kansas and decided to bet all the marbles on Alabama and Mississippi who vote this coming Tuesday March 12. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Gingrich’s abrupt switch of travel plans reflected the grim political map that he faces in the weeks ahead.”
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    Alabama and Mississippi: The Gingrich campaign told the Wall Street Journal that they must win Alabama and Mississippi in order to remain viable. However, it is not clear that Gingrich can win Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday even if he concentrates all of his efforts on these two states. Rick Santorum’s Super PAC is hotly contesting these two states. According to Alabama State University’s new poll, Rick Santorum has a substantial lead with 23% of the vote, Mitt Romney is second with 19%, and Newt Gingrich is a distant third with 14%. According to the odds makers at inTrade, Gingrich has only a 15% chance of winning Alabama and a 23% chance of winning Mississippi.

  • AIPAC and Super Tuesday: The Alabama State University poll was taken before Super Tuesday, so it might be understating Santorum’s margin of victory. Gingrich’s results on Super Tuesday were less than inspiring, and his appearance that day at the AIPAC meeting was best described as confused. He fell asleep while waiting for his satellite feed to be connected, and seemed unaware that he was expected to have prepared remarks (just like the earlier remarks by Santorum and Romney).
  • Key: Gingrich purple, Santorum green, Romney orange, Paul yellow, Perry blueThe South: Even if Gingrich’s bet pays off and somehow he wins in Alabama or Mississippi by concentrating on those states, he has really defined himself as a regional candidate and there aren’t that many states left to vote in that area, so the road forward is unclear.
  • Delegate Count: Key to the nomination are the delegates to the Republican National Convention. Newt Gingrich trails far behind Mitt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. He will probably get a few more delegates in the South but not enough to get a majority of the delegates. His only hope at the convention would be if no one candidate had a majority of the delegates, allowing Gingrich to play the role of a king-maker or a spoiler. However, by continuing in the race, Gingrich splits the anti-Romney vote in winner-take-all states like New Jersey. This increases the chances that Romney will be able to reach the critical threshold of 1,144 delegates making Gingrich’s delegates meaningless. Nate Silver‘s mathematical analysis indicates that Santorum could gain 11 times more than Romney without Gingrich in the race.

I expect that Gingrich will stay in the race until Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi (or perhaps the March 24 primary in Louisiana) and end his campaign on the high note. Officially, his campaign would be “suspended” so his delegates to date would still be bound to him and give him an important role in case of a brokered Republican National Convention.

Super Tuesday Results

  • Romney crushes the opposition in his home state of Massachusetts with 72% of the vote.
  • Romney wins in nearby Vermont with 40% of the vote.
  • In Virginia, only Romney and Paul were on the ballot. Romney wins 60% to 40%.
  • Romney won big with 62% of the vote in Idaho thanks in part to its large Mormon population.
  • Romney also wins in the Alaska caucus. In Wasilla, Palin refused to say who she voted for, but said she would be available in case of a brokered convention.
  • CNN is now calling Ohio . Romney squeaks by Santorum 453,927 to 441,908.
  • Rick Santorum shows a solid hold of the center of the country with wins in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
  • Gingrich wins his home state of Georgia.
  • Over the next week, there will be elections in four states and four territories. Santorum is favored in the Kansas Caucus this Saturday. On Tuesday, Gingrich has a good chance to win the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. Intrade favors Romney to win the Hawaii Caucus. I have not yet seen any polling for  the caucuses in US territories: Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas Islands.
 Other Key Dates
  • PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm ET, Portland, OR
  • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
  • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
  • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
  • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
  • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

Color Key
Rick Santorum: Dark green
Mitt Romney: Orange
Newt Gingrich: Purple
Ron Paul: Gold
Rick Perry: Dark blue
Not yet voted: Grey


States Won
Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH
Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO TN OK ND
Newt Gingrich: SC GA

Next Contests
Mar 10: KS VI GU MP
Mar 13: AL AS HI MS
Mar 17: MO
Mar 18: PR
Mar 20: IL
Mar 24: LA
Apr  3: MD DC WI  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

You Snooze You Lose: Gingrich Caught Napping At AIPAC Conference

To the right is the official video from CSPAN of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s remarks at AIPAC 2012.

Taegan Goddard gives the backstory which helps us understand this disconnected speech.  

Just before he was set to talk live via satellite to the AIPAC conference, Newt Gingrich was caught on video nodding off.

He woke up just as they went live and said, “I understand you have a panel. I look forward to any questions.”

After 12 seconds of silence he was told there was no panel and began an improvised speech.

Obviously candidates have an exhausting schedule on Super Tuesday, but they should have handlers who prepare them properly to speak to a conference with 14,000 participants.

The satellite feed showing Gingrich napping can be found after the jump.
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