As Republican presidential hopefuls descended on Iowa for their second major debate on Thursday in Ames, the return of Mr. Romney came at a turning point in his candidacy. His wait-and-see approach toward campaigning in Iowa has been complicated by the expected candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, whose strategy includes waging a full effort in the caucuses early next year that open the nominating battles ahead. – With Return to Iowa, Romney Heeds Call of G.O.P. Strategists

We’re headed into some busy Republican 2012 days of action, with Iowa the focus and no one wants to be left out, because even though the White House is preparing to run against Romney, anything can still happen.

What you’ve got to understand about Republicans as they make their case is how they lie to the working class, and have been doing so for decades, in order to convince people to vote against their interests, while utilizing Democratic ideas themselves when it suits them. Sam Stein reveals Michele Bachmann’s hypocrisy on this score today.

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Huffington Post with three separate federal agencies reveals that on at least 16 separate occasions, Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds set aside through President Obama’s stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled “fantasy economics.” Bachmann made two more of those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution that she has suggested she would eliminate if she were in the White House. Taken as a whole, the letters underscore what Bachmann’s critics describe as a glaring distance between her campaign oratory and her actual conduct as a lawmaker.

But Bachmann’s just a sideshow, though she looks a lot better than Sarah Palin these days, who is once again yanking the chain of her adoring fans. Ames may be overblown in importance, but Sarah isn’t going to let the circus pass her by (after all she needs her Fox contract).

Ronald Reagan could relate to what Mitt Romney did as governor of Massachusetts to impress S&P. Of course, like Romney, Reagan would have a lot of trouble winning the Republican nomination today, too. From Politico:

“When I was governor, S&P rewarded Massachusetts with a credit rating upgrade for our sound fiscal management and the underlying strength of our economy,” Romney boasted. “That didn’t happen by accident. The president’s failure to put the nation’s fiscal and economic house in order has caused a massive loss of confidence that resulted in an embarrassing downgrade.”

But Romney’s case to S&P is a far cry from the anti-tax absolutism of the Republican Party he hopes to lead. Indeed, it bears a far closer resemblance to the right-of-center grand compromise rejected by House Republicans this year ““ dismissed because it would include new taxes and end tax breaks President Barack Obama described as “loopholes” ““ or the more modest compromise that passed, than to the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan Romney “applauded.”

The presentation to the ratings agency reveals that Romney’s administration made the case to Standard & Poor’s that his state was creditworthy because of both spending cuts ““ the current preferred GOP method ““ and new revenues, including fees he imposed and tax “loopholes” he closed. The presentation also prominently cited a controversial set of tax increases in the summer of 2002, which Romney, then a candidate, had opposed.

This is sound fiscal policy compared to what we’re hearing from all other Republicans. The Tea Party hates Romney already, so this isn’t going to make them feel any cozier toward him.

What’s at the bottom of Romney and Bachmann’s hypocrisy is shared by most of their colleagues, though they won’t admit it, because they’ve tied themselves to a false premise and for whatever stupidity they’re going to allow everyone else to pay for it.

It’s why if Pres. Obama and the White House has any game left they’d take Steve Benen’s advice, which has also mentioned by Chris Matthews.

Here’s the pitch: have the White House take the several hundred letters GOP lawmakers have sent to the executive branch since 2009, asking for public investments, and let President Obama announce he’ll gladly fund all of the Republicans’ requests that have not yet been filled.

This is perfect for Pres. Obama: he gets to give Republicans money for jobs programs that make them look good, with the threat of exposing them if they don’t ascent to creating jobs. It would also make the progressive case the best way possible and manifest what’s needed a lot more than anything else right now: economic growth through jobs.

There is no more important act needed today.

There are innumerable ways for Democrats and progressives to beat Republicans up on their risky economic schemes, but Benen’s is the best I’ve heard so far. However, it takes action to actually do something, not just give meaningless speeches.