The Republican Party Crackup, Presented By Rachel Maddow

No one on television quite ties it all together like the charming St. Rachel:

“The Beginning Of The Battle To Take Over The Republican Party”

I just noticed, via C-SPAN, that a bunch of bitter extremist conservative leaders got together after the election last week and told reporters at the National Press Club that what’s wrong with the Republican Party is that there aren’t enough bitter extremist conservatives in it.

The press event was led by Richard Viguerie, an influential conservative who has tried to help right-wing nuts take over the Republican Party for more than 50 years. To people like Viguerie, the GOP is merely “the most convenient vehicle through which to seek elective office.”

To give you an idea of what strange ideas whiz around in the noggin’ of Richard Viguerie, he thought that Rick Santorum was “the most electable conservative seeking the Republican nomination for President.” Yes, he really thought that.

Viguerie said last week:

The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today and the failed Republican leadership should resign. Out of last night’s disaster comes some good news, however. Conservatives are saying, “Never again are we going to nominate a big-government establishment Republican for president.”

As if he were reading from a script written by liberal Democrats who want the GOP to continue on its path toward national irrelevance, Viguerie elaborated:

Republicans never, ever win the presidency unless they nationalize the election around conservative principles and a conservative agenda…In choosing to ignore the conservative agenda, Romney chose not to follow the path that led to Republicans winning the White House seven out of the last eleven elections…

Now don’t get caught up on how delusional Viguerie is to think that Mittens actually ignoredthe conservative agenda,” an agenda he embraced so effectively that it helped bring him down (“self deportation,” anyone?). Viguerie said something more important, in terms of the internecine struggle that has begun over the future of the Republican Party: “The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today.”

The old conservative went on to demand the heads of Reince Priebus, John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and “other Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012.” He then tossed Karl Rove out with the other consultant trash he considered unworthy of advising the Republican Party, saying “no one should give a dime to their ineffective super PACs such as American Crossroads.”

Despite all that, the real problem for Republican leaders, who can see that their party is becoming nationally unattractive, is related to the following Viguerie remarks, in which he reiterated what is at stake for movement conservatives:

The disaster of 2012 signals the beginning of the battle to take over the Republican Party, and the opportunity to establish the GOP as the party of small government, constitutional conservatism.

Viguerie, you see, doesn’t just want to share the Republican Party with other Republicans. He and other like-minded zealots want to take it over and completely remake it in the image of the Tea Party. That’s what “small government, constitutional conservatism” translates to.

In the mean time, some of the more establishment righties, like columnist and Foxer Michael Barone, said the Tea Party “brings some talented people into politics…but it also brings some wackos and weirdos and witches, and we put too many of them on the ticket.

As a Democrat, I am more than happy to stand back and watch Republicans figure out just who are the “talented people” and who are the “wackos and weirdos and witches.” It will be amusing to see Republicans turn on one another, attack one another, injure one another. They deserve the tumult they are going through, given how many of them tried to destroy President Obama by waging a war of slander against him and by slowing down the economic recovery so he couldn’t win a second term.

While those disgraceful actions didn’t stop Obama’s reelection, they did hurt the country, and given the confusion they created around next year’s fiscal policies, Republicans are still hurting the country.

These people have sown division and uncertainty, and, by God, they are, as a political party, reaping what they sowed.

Celebrate! Karl Rove Went Nuts!

Now we know exactly why Republicans tried so hard to keep people from voting.

The easiest thing to do this morning, after Tuesday’s great Democratic victory, would be to rehearse all the pre-election hooey that oozed from Foxed-up folks, whether it be local bloggers or well-known extremists on TV and radio, who were cock-sure that Americans wouldn’t put the black Kenyan socialist back in the White’s House.

Yes, that would be so easy. But because I am such a gracious winner, I’m just not gonna play back all that stuff, all that vitriol-based commentary, all those foolish predictions by the Obama-haters. Nope, I’m not gonna do it.

Couldn’t help it.

But I’ll spare you the rest of the rubbish that came from others, who I am sure had a hard time popping out of bed this morning, at least those who could actually get to sleep after it became clear that they are going to have to live with Barack Obama for another four years.

And they will have to live with more Democrats in the Democrat-controlled Senate and a few more in the House. And, ahhhh, they will have to live with ObamaCare.

Not that some of those folks didn’t put up a fight last night.

I watched with utter delight what happened on Fox after it called the election for the President. Turd Blossom, uh, Karl Rove, was in rare form. He openly challenged Fox’s “decision desk“—nerdish guys and gals who crunch the numbers using decidedly non-ideological arithmetic—and pleaded with the anchors to do something about it. To stop it. To repeal the laws of mathematics.

Here’s how Time’s TV critic, James Poniewozik described it:

What is unusual–really, one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen on cable news–is for one arm of a network to basically turn against itself on-air. “Here’s what we’re going to do!” said anchor Bret Baier. “We’re going to get someone from the decision desk and we’re going to bring them in here and we’re going to have them on air and we’re going to interview them about this decision.”

That’s right: One of you nerds had better get in here and explain yourselves to Karl Rove! You have made an important Republican very upset!

If you didn’t see what happened on Fox, I suggest you read Poniewozik’s entire account of it, including his summation of Karl Rove’s attempt to commandeer a network in service to his political party:

It was a fitting moment for an election that often seemed to be a campaign over the idea of mathematical knowability itself. But it was also a glaring, and embarrassing, example of the extent to which Fox News has become an arm of the Republican Party and is expected by GOP operatives to behave as one. Rove may be a party big shot, but he’s just a guy giving analysis on Fox’s air. He does not run the network, even if his friends do.

And yet apparently no one in Fox’s studio felt empowered to tell him that, just because he’d raised a squillion dollars for Republicans SuperPACs this election, he is not entitled to have the decision desk hauled out to answer to him like a chef who sent out an undercooked steak. It’s the sort of thing that might cause you to examine your mission as a journalistic network. I’m not waiting up for that to happen, though.

No, Fox “News” will not examine its journalistic mission. It won’t ask itself why so many of us put quotation marks around its “News.” It will continue to falsely call itself fair and balanced and wage war on arithmetic and the Democratic Party.

But Democrats can celebrate one simple fact today. Despite all of what the Fox “News” Channel did to sabotage their chances of winning, despite all that Karl Rove and his moneyed minions did to try to buy the election, despite all the attempts to suppress the vote of minorities and young people, a majority of Americans still placed their hope for a better future in the hands of the Democratic Party.

And at least for one day, that is worth celebrating.

McCaskill Sends A Warning To Republicans

As Todd Akin, that brilliant medieval scientist, continues his “Give ‘Em The Finger Tour” around Missouri (he essentially kicked it off here in Joplin), and as he attempts to make Missouri the butt of all political jokes, Claire McCaskill appeared on MSNBC this morning and offered this rather unladylike warning to the honchos in the GOP:

Watch the national Republicans. You know, they’ve all said it was unacceptable what he did, and I think Scott Brown and Linda McMahon and a lot of candidates out there are really going to be in trouble if the national Republicans now go back on their word and come in here and try to fund Todd Akin.

McCaskill’s senate counterpart, Roy Blunt, has already decided to put political power ahead of principle and support Akin. But he has his own personal reasons for doing so. If Blunt, who is Mitt Romney’s congressional liaison, can help Republicans gain control of the senate by helping to engineer an Akin victory, he will be able to move up the leadership ladder—he is now the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

McCaskill is counting on national Republicans, who don’t share Blunt’s narrower interests because they have to look out for other candidates in bluish states, to keep to their word and not flirt with Akin and his goofy gynecological godliness imported from the Middle Ages.

So far, Texas Senator John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, claims he has “no plans” to put money in Akin’s campaign, but we are talking about the Republican Party here. If the race is close in a couple of weeks, I’m betting the money will flow.

As for that other money-man, Karl Rove—who famously said of Akin that, “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts” —he probably won’t sink any money into Akin’s race, just as he didn’t offer any dough to GOP senate candidates and wingnuts Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, or Christine O’Donnell in 2010.

But again, these are Republicans. If it appears that an Akin victory is possible, and a Republican-controlled Senate is still in play, then even the murder-minded Rove may make a cash dump in Missouri.

In the mean time, the fact that Todd Akin still has his political legs, after all he has said and done, says a lot about how far Missouri politics has been corrupted by a corrosive brand of conservatism.

“His Poor Father Must Be So Embarrassed About His Son”

 

The headline at HuffPo said it all:

Harry Reid: Bain Investor Told Me That Mitt Romney ‘Didn’t Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years’

Now, that kind of speculation about what Romney is hiding is inevitable and will only get worse, despite the fact that Mittens is standing strong against transparency.  The HuffPo story relates:

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s.

Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?

How it looks now is increasingly becoming a problem for Romney, who is still running strong on the idea that he was a “sterling” bidnessman—his latest ad quotes Bill Clinton as saying so—but refuses to let the light shine on the whole of his business career and how he benefited from it and from America’s skewed tax system.

In any case, Harry Reid, who at times is frustratingly kind to his Republican colleagues, also said some other stunning things about money and politics. Although he said he is optimistic about the Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the Senate, he accurately summed up what’s wrong:

We feel comfortable in the Senate. Where the problem is, is this: Because of the Citizens United decision, Karl Rove and the Republicans are looking forward to a breakfast the day after the election. They are going to assemble 17 angry old white men for breakfast, some of them will slobber in their food, some will have scrambled eggs, some will have oatmeal, their teeth are gone. But these 17 angry old white men will say, ‘Hey, we just bought America. Wasn’t so bad. We still have a whole lot of money left.’

Give ‘em hell, Harry!

 

Sorry Asses

Turd Blossom, also known as Karl Rove, famously wrote a piece in The Wall Street Journal that gave legs to the demonstrably false meme that President Obama has been traversing the globe announcing our nation’s historical failings and apologizing for them.

Mr. Blossom wrote of the alleged apologies:

Mr. Obama makes it seem as though there is moral equivalence between America and its adversaries and assumes that if he confesses America’s sins, other nations will confess theirs and change.

Of course Mr. Obama never did what he was accused of doing, as many have pointed out, but that hasn’t stopped the criticism. WaPo quotes Donald Rumsfeld as saying,

I think he had made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America.

And of course Mittens had something to say:

I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don’t apologize for America, because I believe in America.

The apology meme is perfectly suited for talk radio and Fox “News,” which moved it around the world at light speed. Sean Hannity, using his most serious and obnoxious voice, said Obama has a “habit” of issuing “wall to wall apologies,” and,

We have a president that’s more inclined to apologize for America than defend America’s greatness.

Now, leaving aside the disturbing hysteria that has taken up permanent residence in the brain of Sean Hannity and other talkers in the right-wing media, even if Mr. Obama were a serial apologizer, so what?

It seems obvious to me that any concept of America’s “greatness” should include the idea that we attempt to correct our wrongs when we can and when he can’t correct them, we at least should be great enough to express regret for them.  Other than those infected with fascist fantasies, what kind of mind would think that apologizing is a sign of weakness and not of strength?

I bring up the topic because of this wonderful headline:

Yes, that U.S. House, the one with all those extremist teapartiers who think Obama has apologized us into second-class status internationally.

Here’s the story:

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Xinhua) — U.S. House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for discriminating laws targeting Chinese immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.

Congressional leaders hailed the approval of the resolution as a “historic” moment for the Chinese American community.

In a voice vote, the House passed H. Res. 683, a bipartisan resolution that formally expresses regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other legislation that discriminated against people of Chinese origin in the United States.

This is the fourth resolution of regret passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress in the past 25 years. It was approved in the Senate last October.

“Today the House made history when both chambers of Congress officially and formally acknowledged the ugly and un-American nature of laws that targeted Chinese immigrants,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, the only member of Congress who is of Chinese descent and who introduced the bill. “I feel so gratified… and I feel honored to have been a part of this great moment in history.”

The Chinese Exclusion Act, approved in 1882 in Congress and lasted for 60 years, was the first and the only federal law in U.S. history that excluded a single group of people from immigration on no basis other than their race. It explicitly banned Chinese workers from immigration and existing residents from naturalization and voting.

The Act was later expanded several times to apply to all persons of Chinese descent, each time imposing increasingly severe restrictions on immigration and naturalization.

No word in yet on when Turd Blossom will denounce House Republicans for their act of shame, which has made it “seem as though there is moral equivalence between America and its adversaries and assumes that if [the House of Representatives]confesses America’s sins, other nations will confess theirs and change.”

No word in yet on when Sean Hannity will summon his most serious and obnoxious voice and decry this outrage against American greatness, perpetrated by the Republican-dominated House.

No word in yet on when Mittens will grab a microphone and repeat his suggestion that it is not possible to both apologize for America and also believe in it.

And no word in yet on when Republicans will apologize to Barack Obama for slandering him, for loudly and endlessly suggesting that he doesn’t love America and that he has diminished its greatness.

Of Chicken Shit And Billionaires

I want to begin with a story that appeared on the front page of the Joplin Globe this Friday morning:

Moark is a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes in Minnesota and is the second largest distributor of fresh shell eggs in the country (about 6 billion eggs sold each year). Naturally, when millions of chickens are concentrated in one area there is a problem with waste and smell, which tend to diminish the quality of life for those residents who happen to live nearby.

The point of the Globe story was really to chronicle the lack of interest on the part of those nearby residents to resist this latest expansion of Moark’s production, since citizen resistance to an earlier expansion in 2005 met with utter failure. The state sided with the corporation.

Dave Boyt, one of those who challenged Moark’s 2005 expansion said this time:

People get tired of beating their heads against a wall. We knew during the earlier expansion what we were up against. We knew that the chances of stopping the expansion or getting even some concessions were absolutely minuscule.

Another nearby resident said:

Ordinary people can’t afford to fight something that big. Money talks, and as a little guy, unless you’ve got the money to fight them, you really can’t do much.

Such resignation may be behind the tendency, when one discusses money in politics, to resort to a “both sides do it” stance and just hope the wind blows the smell of chicken shit the other way.

But, folks, what Republicans are doing this election cycle ought to scare the complacency out of you, if, that is, you give a damn about our democracy. Last night on MSNBC, Ezra Klein (subbing for Saint Rachel) presented this graphic:

What this comparison shows is that Karl Rove, W. Bush’s Turd Blossom, will spend this election cycle, through his Crossroads group, nearly as much as the entire McCain-Palin campaign did in 2008.

But that’s not the whole story, of course. As Politico reported:

POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.

Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago.

So, from just two sources, Rove and Koch, Romney’s effort to become CEO of America will have funding amounting to about twice as much as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate had last time.

But that still doesn’t include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the super PAC supporting Mittens (Restore our Future), which when added to the Rove-Koch dough will exceed $1 billion. Can you smell the chicken doo-doo yet?

But we still haven’t got to what the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee expects to raise—according to Politico about $800 million!

Add it all up and we are damn close to $2 billion that Republicans will have to slander and trash Obama and other Democrats. But we’re still not at the end:

Chicken caca, anyone? That Forbes article relates that the Las Vegas billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who “has made more money during the Obama administration than just about any other American, based on Forbes tabulations,” will do “whatever it takes” to defeat the President. Adelson is quoted as saying:

What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives…I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration’s quest to socialize this country. It won’t be a socialist democracy because it won’t be a democracy.

It won’t be a democracy because people like Sheldon Adelson—worth a reported $25 billion—and the Koch brothers—combined net worth of $50 billion—and other wealthy Republicans will have cannibalized it, if voters don’t stop them.

And, again, if all this isn’t enough to get folks to electorally rebel against this hostile takeover of our politics—aided greatly by the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court—then the American experiment with democracy—with government of, by, and for the people—will soon be over.

The people will have surrendered to the oligarchs and America will become a much different place, one where the Adelsons and the Kochs will rule and the Moarks of the world can pollute the countryside with impunity.

Fat Cats And Super PACS

It’s hard to overestimate the damage the Citizens United decision has done, is doing, to our democracy.  A report released by the Wesleyan Media Project, which analyzes political advertising, began with this:

The overall number of GOP presidential ads on the airwaves this election year is comparable with 2008, but who is paying for them so far has changed significantly.  The influence of SuperPACs in the race for the 2012 GOP nomination is clear, with a more than 1600 percent increase in interest-group sponsored ads aired as compared to 2008.

Get that? Comparing the same period of the last two presidential GOP primary seasons, the number of super PAC ads has gone up 1626.7% this year, with the actual spending increase amounting to 1281.8%. That is largely because corporations, which have become full-fledged folks under a weird interpretation of the Constitution, can now give unlimited amounts of cash:

In the first presidential election cycle following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC, interest group involvement in the presidential air war has skyrocketed from 3 percent of all ads aired in the 2008 Republican nomination race to nearly half (44 percent) of all airings.

As for the candidates themselves, they aired almost 41% fewer ads and spent almost 72% less money over the comparable periods. The candidates are essentially hiding behind the super PACS that support them.

(By the way, the donors to those candidate-oriented PACS will be disclosed today, while those advocacy groups organized as 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporations—like Karl Rove-supported Crossroads GPS—are allowed to keep their donor list of fat cats a secret.)

And while President Obama’s campaign has aired ads in important swing states to the tune of $1.4 million since January 1 of last year, over the same period we also know what outside groups supporting right-wing interests in the general election have spent (estimated):

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY (Think: KOCH BROTHERS): $5,753,280

CROSSROADS GPS (Think: KARL ROVE): $3,013,340

AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE (Think: BIG OIL): $1,673,760

Keep in mind that the general election hasn’t even started and won’t for some time, depending on how much ga$ is poured into Newt Gingrich’s tank.

No matter the outcome of the 2012 election, these and other similar groups will not go away. They will be back again, even stronger and more committed (the Koch brothers play a long-term game).

Please, join Get Money Out or at least visit the site and check out the Idiot’s Guide to the Amendments, if you haven’t already.

The Kate Plus 8 Debate Or How Rick Perry Lost The Nomination

I had a choice on Wednesday night.  I could have watched the Republican debate, or I could have stuck a screwdriver in my eye.

After some difficult deliberation, I opted for watching the debate.  About 30 minutes into it, though, I started looking for that screwdriver.

Here was my impression: Kate Gosselin, of Kate Plus 8 fame, needed to be on the stage supervising the eight kids.  We had a couple of Ricks, a Mitt, a Newt, a Herman, a crazy Aunt Michele, a crazy Uncle Ron, and a John who spells his name J-O-N, all determined to, at one time or another, poop in the sandbox and ruin it for the other children.

By the way, the over-under on when Obama would be called a socialist was 20 minutes.  If you had the under, you’re a winner.  At 7:19, Newt said the President was committed to “class warfare and bureaucratic socialism.” 

Ding, ding, ding.

The next socialism reference was seven minutes later when Michelle Bachmann labeled Obama’s health care reform law “socialized medicine.”

Ding, ding, ding.

The Big Loser of the night: Rick Perry, unfortunately.

Here is Perry’s response to a question he was asked about the nasty things he wrote in his recent—recent!—book about Social Security:

JOHN HARRIS:  In the book, you call Social Security the best example of a program that “violently tossed aside any respect for states’ rights.” We understand your position that it’s got funding problems now. I’d like you to explain your view that Social Security was wrong right from the beginning.

PERRY: Well, I think any of us that want to go back and change 70 years of what’s been going on in this country is probably going to have a difficult time. And rather than spending a lot of time talking about what those folks were doing back in the ’30s and the ’40s, it’s a nice intellectual conversation, but the fact is we have got to be focused on how we’re going to change this program…

But I think the Republican candidates are talking about ways to transition this program, and it is a monstrous lie.

It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right. 

There you have it.  Rick Perry tripled down on his assertion that Social Security, which has lifted millions of Americans out of end-of-life poverty, is essentially a criminal enterprise.  I’m sort of all goose-pimply that I witnessed the end of Rick Perry’s Jesus-endorsed quest for the presidency.  It’s sort of like being in the Garden of Eden at that pivotal moment when God asked,

Who told thee that thou wast naked?

But not only did Perry eat the forbidden fruit of speaking ill of Social Security—and lying to young people about the program— he actually spoke ill of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, suggesting they might be liars.

Well, at least he didn’t call Barack Obama a liar.  He called him an “abject liar.” 

And Perry was also at the center of one of the most disturbing moments of the night.  He was asked this question by Brian Williams:

Governor Perry…your state has executed 234 death-row inmates, more than any governor in modern times.  Have you—[interrupted by raucous, if not bloodthirsty, applause]—have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

Now, forget for a moment, if you can, that a room full of Republicans thought it appropriate to applaud the record-setting government execution of 234 people (which Brian Williams noted a moment later).  Think about Perry’s answer:

No, sir.  I’ve never struggled with that at all…

Never struggled with approving the death warrant of 234 people?  Never?  He’s been accused in one prominent case of possibly executing an innocent man. And following that execution, Perry then removed members of a state-authorized panel who were looking into the case. Never struggled?  What kind of man is that?

A dangerous man.

In any case, even though Perry tried to bring all “the Republican candidates” onto the kill-Social Security train, which will leave the station at the same time as the kill-Medicare train, Mitt Romney had the good sense to stay on the station platform, for now. He took the opportunity to challenge Perry’s position:

Our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security, but who is committed to saving Social Security.

Thus, the big winner of the night: Mitt Romney, unfortunately.    

Mitt, as I have said all along, is the only candidate in this Kate Plus 8 field who has a chance of beating Obama.  Romney challenged Perry’s dissing of Social Security, even though Romney himself has at various times been in favor of privatizing the program and raising the eligibility age.  With friends like Mitt Romney, Social Security doesn’t need any enemies.

But the truth is that despite Romney’s lack of affection for historical Social Security, there simply isn’t any other Republican capable of beating Obama in a general election and at some point Republican kingmakers, like Karl Rove, will broadcast that reality to the GOP establishment, and Rick Perry will go back to hell or west Texas, the distinction not all that important for my purposes here.

Mitt did have a Tea Party moment, despite the fact that he failed to enthusiastically embrace the movement when given a chance. He said:

We need to have an individual lead this country, who not only loves America, but has the experience to get us back on track of being competitive globally.

Not only loves America…” Let me see.  Who doesn’t love America?  Oh, yeah. The black guy in the White’s House.  That ought to make happy those who doubted Romney’s ability to exploit to white angst.

Finally, before I end this eye-witness report on the debate, I want to mention a couple of the other kids in the Reagan Library sandbox:

Ron Paul:

I don’t know what kind of doctor Ron Paul is or was or hopes to be, but I wouldn’t let him trim the nails on my faithful dachshund, after I heard his criticism of Rick Perry’s sensible policy on the virus that causes cervical cancer, HPV.   That policy was one of the things Rick Perry got right in Texas, even though he may have got it right for the wrong reason.  Paul said it wasn’t “good medicine.”

And besides insisting that private industry could and should simply regulate itself, crazy Uncle Ron suggested that the U.S.-Mexico border fence, a favorite solution of conservatives to stop those hungry Mexicans from ordering off the dollar menu at El Paso area McDonald’s, might actually be a way for our government to “keep us in” the country.   Gee, I never thought of that.

Oh, yeah.  Ron said he could fix it where we could buy gas for a dime, a silver dime.  How many of those do you have in your pocket? 

I do want to mention, though, Ron Paul’s one stunningly brilliant contribution of the night.  Since the event was held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, naturally there was a lot of talk about Reagan.  Paul said about the Reagan presidency:

We have to be honest…It was not all that great.

Ding, ding, ding.

Michele Bachmann:

Ms. Bachmann, true to herself, mentioned that she sits on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence—thanks, John Boehner—and that because she is privy to “classified secrets,” she “firmly believes” that President Obama “has weakened us militarily and put us more at risk than at any time.”  Man, I’d like to see those intel documents.  Where’s WikiLeaks when you need it?

Jon Huntsman:

Mr. Huntsman, who took a lot of unfriendly shots at his former boss, Mr. Obama, failed to aggressively attack his fellow Republicans for being stuck in the 8th century, when it comes to science.  He had his Tim Pawlenty moment—a chance to say face-to-face what he had been saying on the campaign trail—and like Tim Pawlenty, he shriveled up like a fat man at an Arctic nudist camp.

Herman Cain:

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO presented his 9-9-9 plan, which, as my nephew texted me, means 9 pizzas with 9 toppings for 9 bucks.  I’ll vote for that!

Remarks And Asides

Like President Obama, who cut Rick Perry some slack for “almost” rhetorically executing Ben Bernanke for treason, I am willing to cut Michelle Bachmann some slack for getting all mixed up about Elvis. 

After all, it’s hard for some folks to tell the difference between being born and being dead, just as it’s hard for some folks to tell the difference between God telling you to run for president and God telling Rick Perry to run for president.

It’s all very confusing sometimes.

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Speaking of Michele Bachmann, she will never, ever be president. Not even in 2102:

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Governor Chris Christie has once again found it necessary to beat back rumors that he is considering running for president next year.  Among others, Karl Rove hinted on Monday that Home Depot co-founder and Obama-hater Ken Langone told Christie that he needed “to think seriously” about a run.

I have it on good authority, though, that Christie told Langone this:

Look, I appreciate the nice orange Home Depot apron you gave me, Ken, but I’m not running.  And since I’ve already missed the deep-fried butter on a stick at the Iowa State Fair, nothing could get me to run now.

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Fox Bidness Network’s Lou Dobbs—who has a hit-and-miss relationship with reality—learned from Texas congressman Louis Gohmert—who has a miss-and-miss relationship with reality—that President Obama was “out there acting like the evil emperor” in his “Darth Vader bus.”

The evil emperor, of course, was Palpatine, who as a Galactic Republic politician rose to Chancellor and began to reveal his true identity as Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the evil Sith.

Now, you can tell by looking at Darth Sidious that Obama is no Darth Sidious. He doesn’t have the complexion or the temperament.  But Louis Gohmert does.  Let’s compare (hint: Gohmert is on the right):

You can see now that Gohmert, in a clear case of deflection, was trying to hide his true identity.

Meanwhile, far from a Dark Lord, Obama has the complexion and temperament of a Jedi Master, perhaps Mace Windu:

By the way, anyone remember how Star Wars ended?

“Let The Date Come And Go,” Says Billy Long

Colonel Ozark Billy Long has spoken and there is no need to worry about any darn debt default.

An article in the Springfield News-Leader quoted Southwest Missouri’s Tea Party Republican representative as saying,

“We are not going to raise the debt limit and they need to know that now instead of August 2nd,” Long said, accusing Geithner of picking that date “out of the clouds.”

Out of the clouds.  Geithner just picked that date out of the clouds.  Except that the story reported this:

Long and others have suggested that picking a date right before the recess was a political move.

Well, that doesn’t sound like it was picked out of the clouds, does it?  Sounds like Geithner picked it off the congressional calendar. 

In any case, facts are unwelcome guests in Ozark Billy’s world because it isn’t just Tim Geithner who believes the threat of default is real.  Wall Street bankers and investors and the Chamber of Commerce and even Karl Rove admits there is trouble coming, if nothing is done.

But Long doesn’t care.  He doesn’t care that interest rates will rise, costing our country uncountable billions in debt service. He doesn’t care that significant parts of the government would have to shut down in order to keep paying Social Security and Medicare benefits for the month, as well as interest to bondholders.

Nope. He doesn’t care:

“Let the date come and go,” Long said, brushing off the threat of a default and comments President Obama made earlier this week about the nation being unable to pay its bills, including Social Security checks to seniors.

“That’s going to be on the president,” Long said. “There is money there. He can pay what he wants to pay, and if he doesn’t pay, that’s his bluff.”

Bluff?  You see it’s just another poker game to Ozark Billy, who has a special place in his heart for gambling. It’s easy to play games with the lives of others, if you have nothing personal at stake.  If Social Security checks don’t go out to residents of Southwest Missouri, the Colonel won’t feel a thing. Or, more likely, if other essential agencies of the federal government shut down, what is that to Ozark Billy?

And certainly if interest rates rise—not just for the country but for individual borrowers—what does it matter to an independently wealthy congressman from a blood red district whose voters hate the government anyway?

Well, God would that we could test Long’s theory of indifference to a debt default.  God would that Obama, if there is no deal on the debt limit, would have the unthinkable audacity to stop payment of Social Security and Medicare benefits to registered Republicans in Southwest Missouri.  Wouldn’t that be fun, Tea Party fans?

Long’s glittering ignorance was captured by the article:

“When I went home last weekend, everyone came up to me and said, ‘Don’t raise taxes. Don’t raise the debt ceiling. Don’t raise taxes. Don’t raise the debt ceiling,'” Long said. “All the congressmen are hearing the same thing in their districts. We’ve spent too much money that we don’t have and there has to be a comeuppance.”

Raising the debt ceiling, however, doesn’t authorize future spending; it allows the government to pay existing obligations. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and a host of economists have warned that if the U.S. were to default on its loans, the result could be catastrophic.

Long said 51 percent of all calls, emails, and letters coming into his office are opposed to raising the debt ceiling under any circumstance,” the article reports.  I suppose if a majority of calls coming in were in favor of, say, stifling free speech, then Ozark Billy would be on board the Repeal the First Amendment bandwagon. 

Anyway, if you want to make your voice heard on this matter, whether or not the Colonel will listen, you can contact him via his website here, or here:

Washington Office
1541 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6536
Fax: (202) 225-5604
Mo-Fri 8AM-5PM CT

Springfield Office
3232 E. Ridgeview St.
Springfield, MO 65804
Phone: (417) 889-1800
Fax: (417) 889-4915
Mo-Fri 8AM-5PM CT

Joplin Office
2727 E. 32nd St. Ste. 2
Joplin, MO 64804
Phone: (417) 781-1041
Fax: (417) 781-2832
Mo-Fri 8AM-5PM CT

You can also contact Senator Roy Blunt, who also isn’t that worried about the debt ceiling, here or here:

Washington, D.C. Office
260 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5721
Fax: (202) 224-8149

Springfield Office                                                                                                                     2740 B East Sunshine
Springfield, MO 65804
Phone: (417) 877-7814
Fax:(417)-823-9662

Or, there is another way: You can go to ProgressMissouri and follow the directions, and while there possibly contribute.

Does President Obama “Own The Debt-Ceiling Fiasco”? Nope.

A commenter wrote in to ask my opinion of Karl Rove’s article in The Wall Street Journal the other day, titled Obama Owns the Debt-Ceiling Fiasco.  The commenter, Randy, wrote that the article,

Seems spot on to me, but I am open to other perspectives.

Okay. Here is another perspective:

Randy,

I’m afraid I have to concur with HLG who said that,

Karl Rove is an amoral bald-faced-liar that even when he appears to be telling the truth (which he does so rarely), he still can’t be trusted.

Let me tell you what the Rove piece was designed to do: Tell Republicans to look like they’re fighting hard for a deal, go ahead and cave in at the last minute in some fashion, and the GOP and GOP outside support groups, flush with cash from anonymous donors, will see to it that the 2012 campaign is all about how Obama doesn’t care about the deficit because he is an “incompetent liberal,” à la Jimmy Carter.

Rove begins his piece, filled with little untruths, with this truth:

President Barack Obama and Congress face a mess if the federal government hits the debt ceiling Aug. 2.

In terms of truth-telling, it’s all downhill from there. He says that,

This would be a disaster with no political winners.

Oh, yes, there would be political winners, depending on what the House of Representatives does.  Mr. Obama, whatever you or Rove think of his sincerity, has made it clear to that small segment of the American people paying attention, that he has tried to reason with unreasonable Republicans. If this ship goes down, the culprits will be easily found, tried, and convicted.

You see, Randy, there will always be this fact left over, after all the smoke has blown away from any potential crisis: Republicans refused to take a $4 trillion debt-ceiling deal, filled mostly with budget cuts, in order not to raise taxes slightly on the wealthy of this country

That’s it, Randy. That is how Democrats will sell this thing next year, one way or the other.  If a crisis ensues, the sell job will be easy because most people already know that Republicans today exist to protect the moneyed class. 

Indeed, the moneyed class has finally bought itself a political party, and Karl Rove is one of their spokesmen.  Which leads me to reveal the real reason Republicans like Rove and Mitch McConnell don’t want to take the generous offer Obama made them: It would instantly make President Obama look like he’s doing something big on the national debt, the GOP’s big wedge issue in 2012.

And for folks like Rove and McConnell, this is all about defeating Obama and gaining political power, not what is best for the country.

Duane

Mitch McConnell’s Message: Throw Obama From The Train

“To hell with job creation, we want us some Obama!”

Although he didn’t exactly say it that way, the Republican leader in the Senate—still the minority leader—said as much today, reiterating his top priority for the next two years: Put a Republican in the White House and make me Majority Leader!

Mitch McConnell said this to the Church of Conservatism, the Heritage Foundation:

Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office. But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.

Now, President Obama can either allow Republican blowhards like McConnell to control the message— McConnell is talking tough because his party does not control the Senate and thus is not responsible for governing—or the President can defend himself and the principles of his party—not to mention their joint accomplishments. 

Right now, it appears President Obama is allowing giddy Republicans to control the message, and his signal yesterday that he will compromise on tax cuts for the rich—despite the fact that it won’t help the economy much and polls show it is a winning issue for Democrats—is not a good sign.  

If one thinks it prudent to compromise for the good of the country, one offers the compromise at the end of the negotiations, not at the beginning.  Apparently, the White House didn’t learn much from the protracted and nasty health insurance reform debate, in which Obama sacrificed the public option at the beginning in order to entice un-enticeable Republicans.

The reality is that outside Republican groups, many of them formed after the Citizens United decision, spent $245 million this campaign season.  Many of the donors to those groups were wildly wealthy and staunchly stealthy.  Does any Democrat think these groups are going to go easy on them in 2012, after a few bipartisan weenie roasts? 

No.  In fact, some of these groups aren’t going to wait until 2012. They’re sticking around to make life miserable for Democrats:

Officials with the two conservative groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — which are on track to spend well over $50 million combined this year, a sizable part of it from undisclosed donors — said they would continue advertising against Democrats as Congress returns, when decisions loom on the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and immigration.

Republicans think the election was about the size of government. They are trying to convince Democrats that people are willing to tolerate a severe restructuring—possibly leading to a dismantling—of social programs, the legacy of the Democratic Party.

But Democrats have to understand that the election was largely about the economy.  Yes, there is some agitation out there for a smaller government footprint, but Democrats must keep making the case for government’s limited but crucial role in the economy and be willing to defend their party principles in the face of the loud-mouthed, corporately-funded Republican advocacy groups who want to see government decrease so their donors’ profits can increase.

While compromise is part of the political process, it takes two sides to give the exercise its name. Republicans, before the election and after, have indicated that compromise is not in their vocabulary.  And Democrats can’t walk all the way across the aisle and pretend they are meeting Republicans halfway.

If Democrats won’t fight to defend themselves and their ideas, it’s hard to see how they motivate anyone to vote for them in 2012. Obama must be the country’s leader, not follow behind the Republican parade with a poop scoop.

And I have confidence he will be a leader.

Remarks and Asides

I frequently bash Joplin Globe editorials, but today is a day for praise.  Our paper had the nerve to criticize a Tea Party Pooh-Bah, Jim DeMint, for his reiteration that homosexuals and “unmarried, sexually active females” shouldn’t teach the nation’s crumb crunchers:

Here is a senator who calls for limited government, less government “intrusion” in our lives, constitutional restrictions on governmental authority and other “limits” on government. Then he wants to exclude through the force of the government.

Sexual bias has not been a major element in the midterm campaigns so far. But the senator from South Carolina has put his foot in his mouth.

Members of the Republican Party should make sure voters know they don’t share DeMint’s sentiments of a Big Brother society out of control.

Unfortunately, while I am thankful that the Globe editorialist had the chutzpah to take Mr. DeMint to the woodshed and spank his gay-baiting bottom, the truth is that around these parts a large number of Bible totin’ folks agree with DeMint.

____________________________________

Staying local, Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston told a joint powwow with the Joplin Board of Education that he has come to his senses about the value of education, which is welcome news.  According to the Globe,

He said he used to believe that dropouts should be allowed to go their way so that students who were intent on graduating were not held back, but he now sees those students as part of the future economic lifeblood of the city. “I now believe the city and school district have a vested interest” in working together toward student achievement and increased gradua­tion rates, he said.

Imagine that.  Marginal students matter!

In another tribute to reality, a city official said this:

Council member Jack Golden said some neighborhoods have high rates of poverty and insta­bility, and that the city has an obligation to develop higher paying jobs to try to address those issues. Families cannot be supported on jobs that pay $8 or $9 an hour, he said.

Wow!  We’re really getting somewhere now.  And the mayor chimed in:

Woolston said one of his goals is to make the school district an equal partner over time with the city and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce in eco­nomic development.

Now, that’s the way it should be. Everyone working together to develop and grow the economy.  Except that the Joplin Chamber of Commerce could really help out by not sending any money to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is pledging to spend $75 million on campaign ads—some of the money coming from foreign entities—to elect candidates with the same economic philosophy that caused us to lose about 8 million jobs, including jobs in Joplin.

President Obama said this about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday:

Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations. Groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won’t tell you where the money for their ads come from. So, this isn’t just a threat to Democrats. All Republicans should be concerned.  Independents should be concerned.

This is a threat to our democracy.

The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections, and if we just stand by and allow the special interests to silence anybody who’s got the guts to stand up to them, our country will be a very different place.

There is also considerable evidence that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s Billionaire Relief Fund, known as American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, have been coordinating election spending here in Missouri, targeted at Democrats, of course.

The New York Times reports:

Two campaign finance watchdog organizations released a letter to the Internal Revenue Service today, requesting that it investigate whether a nonprofit advocacy group tied to Karl Rove was violating federal tax laws with its involvement in this year’s midterm elections.

The group, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, is set up as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which means that, by law, its “primary purpose” is not supposed to be political. Yet it has been the biggest third-party player on television in Senate races across the country over the last two months…

The sad thing about the World U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Rovian, millionaire- and billionaire-funded, “grassroots” campaigns is that in some places they are having the desired effect.  

And that may mean fewer higher-paying jobs in Joplin.

 _________________________________________

And finally, a federal judge, George Steeh, in the Eastern District of Michigan, has found that the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution does allow the federal government to impose penalties on folks who don’t buy health insurance, as mandated by the recently passed health care reform legislation:

The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market. As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check. How participants in the health care services market pay for such services has a documented impact on interstate commerce. Obviously, this market reality forms the rational basis for Congressional action designed to reduce the number of uninsureds.

The suit was brought by the Thomas More Law Center, a radical right-wing Christian conservative group who opposes same-sex marriage and who opposes, well, you know the drill, blah, blah, blah. 

If you ever bought a Domino’s Pizza, then you contributed to the founding of Thomas More Law Center, since Domino’s founder, Tom Monaghan formed the law center from money he got from putting too much tomato sauce on his damn pizzas and not enough pepperoni.  In any case, all you need to know about Thomas More Law Center is that Rick Santorum, Bowie Kuhn, and Alan Keyes have sat on the advisory board.

Millionaires And Billionaires Fund Republican Takeover Plan

While Michael Steele, ostensibly the head of the Republican Party in exile, toils away in the GOP’s plantation house kitchen, cleaning up from an eight-year governing gala, the real Republican boss men congregate in the parlor making plans for yet another Age of Conservatism, the last one proving to be short-lived.

From the New York Times on Sunday:

In 2004, the Republican master strategist Karl Rove led weekly sessions at his Washington residence where, over big plates of his butter-smothered “eggies” and bacon slabs, he planned the re-election of President George W. Bush — and what he hoped would be lasting Republican dominion over Democrats.

In April, Mr. Rove summoned several of the important players behind Mr. Bush’s ascendance to his home once again, this time to draw up plans to push a Republican resurgence.

To help him push that resurgence are the usual suspects:

…the old coalition of millionaires and billionaires who supported Mr. Bush and have huge financial stakes in regulatory and tax policy…

Oh, boy! Millionaires and billionaires. Just your ordinary Republicans!

This time, Rove is assembling “a collection of outside groups,” in addition to his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which began poisoning the political well a while ago, spending tons of undisclosed donors’ dough in various races around the country. From the Los Angeles Times:

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have already run millions of dollars in advertising in nine Senate races in California, Illinois, New Hampshire and other states. Washington state and Florida ad blitzes are likely to be announced soon.

Crossroads expects to move heavily into more than two dozen House races, including those in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and possibly California.

Some of the $31.6 million raised by Rove and his allies for the Crossroads groups also is going into a grass-roots campaign network that promises unprecedented coordination with business and conservative groups, strategies to monitor new early voting rules and a new database that will allow precise targeting of likely conservative voters. It would then generate 20 million phone calls and 40 million pieces of mail to get them to vote.

Not very comforting was a quote from David Axelrod, President Obama’s politics guy in the White House:

They’re running a very proficient party operation funded by millions of dollars of undisclosed special-interest dollars. These guys are great political operatives, and they will have an impact in this election.

Not exactly warfare rhetoric there, David.  How about this:

They’re running a political operation that is funded by millionaires and billionaires, the same folks who benefited from Republican leadership the last time they were in power, and they are trying to buy this election, the bastards.

There, I feel better. 

A ray of hope in an otherwise dark electoral cloud was provided by Richard Viguerie, who founded Conservative Digest and is known as the “funding father of the conservative movement.”  If you don’t know anything about Viguerie, just know that he used to work for Billy James Hargis, a Christian evangelist who had a penchant for Communist conspiracies.

Back to the New York Times:

Richard Viguerie, a longtime conservative strategist who has allied with Tea Party activists, said, “We’re all on the same page until the polls close Nov. 2.”

But, referring to Mr. Rove and Mr. Gillespie as part of the “ruling class,” he added, “Then a massive, almost historic battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party begins.”

At least if Democrats get kiboshed in November, those of us who write for beer money will have plenty of material, as the conservative extremists fight each other for control of the plantation.

Meanwhile, where is Michael Steele again?

Oh, yeah.  He’s in the kitchen.

Remarks And Asides

Terry Jones, pastor of the ironically-named Dove World Outreach Center, has decided that a Godly message to Muslims everywhere is in order. So, he has thoughtfully organized an “International Burn a Quran Day,” slated for September 11.

But…what if the Quran is not combustible?

In any case, my sources in the hereafter have informed me that Pastor Jones himself is scheduled to be barbecued sometime soon, possibly sooner than he might imagine.

_________________________

In case you missed it, Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee—the Michael Steele of his day—and former campaign manager for Bush’s 2004 campaign, has finally decided to tell the world he is a sodomite gay.

It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life,” Mehlman said.

Okay, fine.  Now, when will Michael Steele admit to the world that he is really white?

_______________________

By the way, Bill Maher outed Mehlman four years ago on Larry King’s show, to which King responded:

King: I never heard that. I’m walking around in a fog. I never…Ken Mehlman? I never heard that. But the question is…

Mayer: Maybe you don’t go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.

Now, the thought of a naked Larry King in a bathhouse is enough to make most any man a heterosexual, I would think.

______________________

I heard Karl Rove say—while being gingerly massaged skillfully interviewed by the refurbished Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday—that Democratic economic policies have clearly been a “spending orgy.”  

Certainly, we can agree that Rove—part of an administration that screwed seven or eight million Americans so long and hard that they lost their jobs—would know an orgy when he sees one.

_______________________

For those of you attending Glenn Beck’s “I Have A Meme” rally this Saturday, just a word of caution: No firearms, ammunition, or explosives are allowed.  And there will absolutely be no alcoholic beverages.  But my impeachable sources tell me that Sarah Palin will be going commando. Have fun everyone!

_______________________

And speaking of Glenn Beck’s egofest this Saturday–the one in which he claims God will manifest his power in ways folks have likely never before seen in public (so much for parting the Red Sea)–none other than Erick Erickson is questioning the motives of the guy who is destined to sit on the left hand of God:

“The conservative movement is still split on Glenn and whether he’s doing it for himself or doing it for the movement,” said Erick Erickson, founder of the influential conservative blog Red State.

Now, when an intellectual slob like Erickson is questioning your motives, can a Noah-like flood be far behind?  I’d buy a big boat before Saturday, if I were you, Erick.

_______________________

Sarah Palin’s counterfactual son-in-law, Levi Johnston—a self described “f***in’ redneck“—is undertaking a campaign for either mayor or councilman of Wasilla—apparently his choice—and has been seen gun-shopping.  Even Sarah Palin doesn’t deserve this guy. 

Okay.  Maybe she does.

Levi has recently renounced his apology for “lying” about Palin.  “The only thing I wish I wouldn’t have done is put out that apology ’cause it kind of makes me sound like a liar,” he said.  

That kid is learnin’.

________________________

Roy Blunt’s partner-in-legislative-malfeasance, Tom DeLay, failed to talk a Texas judge into moving his trial on money laundering to a, well, more hospitable venue.  The bug-killing star-dancer will be tried in Austin, virtually the only place left in Texas where a conservative ideologue has a snowball’s chance of getting what he deserves.

_________________________

The Obama Justice Department has appealed a court ruling striking down a Bush administration policy that fined broadcasters for saying naughty words on live telly.

So, even though the evil Obama is bent on destroying America, he doesn’t want people like Bono saying “f**k” in front of the children while he is doing so.

Democrats Can’t Afford To Rest

Just a few highlights from the pre-vote mania on Capitol Hill:

From Ryan Grim at HuffPo:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) came to the defense of the racists and bigots who shouted slurs at members of Congress Saturday. The Tea Party protesters shouted the ‘n’ word at African-American members of Congress the ‘f’ word at an openly gay member.

Rather than condemn the anachronistic behavior, Nunes blamed the Democrats, saying that they make people do and say crazy things with their tyrannical behavior.

Sam Stein reported on Karl Rove’s bizarre appearance on This Week, which personally I found more than a little off-putting, not because of Rove’s theatrics, but because he was allowed to virtually filibuster the entire segment:

The most dramatic fireworks of all, came on ABC’s This Week, where former Bush strategist Karl Rove deployed a white board and flew into mild hysteria at the mere thought of legislation passing.

“We will fight the election on this and the Democrats will have significant losses in the House and Senate as a result of this bill,” he said.

“Well listen,” replied David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager, “if Karl and a lot of Republicans want to call the election already, they ought to break out that ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner they put on the USS Lincoln.”

All of which drew Rove into a particularly heated rage: “That’s cheesy, David. … You should not denigrate the mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln.”

Although certainly President Obama deserves and will get much credit for his efforts to pass health care reform, the often-ridiculed NancyPelosi has frequently shown more guts than any two men in Congress. From the New York Times:

Scott Brown, the upstart Republican, had just won his Senate race in Massachusetts, a victory that seemed to doom Mr. Obama’s dream of overhauling the nation’s health care system. The White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once Ms. Pelosi’s right hand man on Capitol Hill, was pushing Mr. Obama to scale back his ambitions and pursue a pared-down bill.

Mr. Obama seemed open to the idea, though it was clearly not his first choice. Ms. Pelosi scoffed.

“Kiddie care,” she called the scaled-down plan, derisively, in private.

In a series of impassioned conversations, over the telephone and in the Oval Office, she conveyed her frustration to the president, according to four people familiar with the talks. If she and Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, were going to stick out their necks for Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority, Ms. Pelosi wanted assurances that the president would too. At the White House, aides to Mr. Obama say, he also wanted assurances; he needed to hear that the leaders could pass his far-reaching plan.

“We’re in the majority,” Ms. Pelosi told the president. “We’ll never have a better majority in your presidency in numbers than we’ve got right now. We can make this work.”

Finally, I watched today various anti-abortion Republicans cynically use the abortion issue as a wedge to divide Democrats, pretending the Hyde Amendment issue trumped all considerations for them and should for Democrats, too.  The problem was, of course, that the Hyde Amendment had nothing to do with their fierce opposition to the reform bill.

The phony sadness with which they came to the microphone at their press conference–after it was clear that Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak was satisfied with Obama’s pledge to sign an Executive Order that would ensure that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions–merely served to trivialize their “principled” stand on the abortion issue. 

These days the Republicans have only one solid principle from which they will not budge: Tell outrageous lies as often as possible and hope a few of them will resonate with enough of the American people to regain power.

After the historic vote tonight, the battle for the truth will have just begun. Democrats can’t afford to rest for a minute, as the Republican Machine will be cranked up another notch, and its message will be, in the words of House Minority Leader John Boehner, “This bill will ruin the country.”

 

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