This Week’s News and Views looks at news stories from the past week with added commentary and perspective.

Today is T(ampa) Minus 366 in the countdown to the 2012 Republican National Convention and the ongoing saga of the GOP 2012 Presidential Nomination Contest continues.

“None of the above” has now changed overwhelmingly to “Rick Perry” and despite the “efforts” of Karl Rove, Sarah Palin cannot be enticed into the fray. Even George Pataki, who no one can remember asking, decided to give up his White House non-run.

Mitt Romney wants everyone to look closely at the other candidates and Jon Huntsman agrees saying “Look at me … I’m different” although “moderate Republican” may not mean what you think it means (is “less crazy” a good campaign slogan?).

Other disasters were in the news this week.

Reality based?

The story of the economic disaster that is still being called a recovery has some good news and some bad news.

Polling shows that while people generally don’t blame President Obama for the economic crisis, they do blame him for not fixing it and the-only-stimulus-bill-he-could-possibly-get-passed-in-2009 is now being called “not enough” by those who refused to do anything.

Since understanding how a constitutional democracy functions is hard work, no real blame is assigned to the co-equal branch of government, although Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had harsh words mild admonishment for Congress saying “the negotiations that took place over the summer disrupted financial markets and probably the economy as well”. Take that, “probably” bad acting Congress!

Bernanke declined to make any changes that would spur economic growth insisting that “fiscal policymakers should not … disregard the fragility of the current economic recovery”. I guess “fiscal policymakers” does not include the Chairman of the Federal Reserve bank unless it involves secret loans to banks that are too big to fail but too interested in their own bottom lines to make loans that might help out the economy.

It’s a disaster

An earthquake in Virginia reaching Washington D.C and Hurricane Irene heading towards the Eastern Seaboard spell one thing: time for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to declare once again that federal disaster relief will be unavailable to any of the stricken areas unless offsets in other parts of the federal budget are found.

“God gave us the insurance industry to deal with these crises and unless your policy was cancelled recently because you made a claim or you were laid off and could not pay your premium or your policy does not cover earthquakes or hurricanes, you will be in great shape”, Cantor said. Okay, he did not say that. Or did he?

Grover Norquist on the ballot?

This summer, Republicans, who used Town Halls so effectively in 2009 and 2010 against Democratic incumbents, have decided that “people asking about their votes” is sheer torture uncomfortable and are taking steps to make Town Halls more GOP friendly and shrinking their echo chamber even more (perhaps so that it can be drowned in a thimble?)

Constituents who are demanding to know why their congressman has made a pledge to Grover Norquist without their permission will need to make the decision to vote Grover out of office:

“You didn’t sign this [ATR pledge] on my behalf. You didn’t ask me,” noted one constituent. “You didn’t ask me. We are your constituents, not Grover Norquist.

Now that is very good news.

(Crossposted from Views from North Central Blogistan)