The Triangulation Has Begun

“I hate to keep repeating myself, but to have the kind of relief the country needs, I think we change the government. Change the Senate, change the presidency.”

—Mitch McConnell, November 7, 2013

I recently wrote a piece on what I said will be the Republican establishment’s strategy to win general elections against Democrats: triangulation. They will try to make voters believe that they occupy the middle ground between those crazy teapartiers, who want to deconstruct the present government, and those nutty left-wingers, who want to construct an even bigger government.

Well, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the first arrow out of his triangulation quiver today, via Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal column:

“The most important election yesterday wasn’t the governor of New Jersey and it wasn’t the governor of Virginia, it was the special election for Congress in South Alabama, where a candidate who said the shutdown was a great idea, the president was born in Kenya, and that he opposed Speaker Boehner came in second.” The victory of a more electable Republican, is significant, Mr. McConnell says. To govern, parties must win. To win, parties must “run candidates that don’t scare the general public, [and] convey the impression that we could actually be responsible for governing, you can trust us—we’re adults here, we’re grown-ups.”

McConnell, who is up for reelection in 2014, confidently says he is “gonna be the Republican nominee next year” in a race that would pit him against Kentucky’s Democratic secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has been raising a lot of dough for the battle. In Noonan’s column, McConnell shrewdly went after the Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former senator and unrepentant teapartier Jim DeMint, for spending a lot of money attacking Republicans like him and for doing so “in obvious coordination with Harry Reid’s super PAC.”

And McConnell has obviously figured that his primary campaign opponent, bidnessman Matt Bevin, who is supported by Tea Party groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, is best dealt with by painting him and his supporters as irresponsible people who can’t win a general election because the public doesn’t trust them to be grown-ups and govern.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has also stepped up the rhetoric against extremist groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the consulting firms that work with them. The New York Times recently reported:

“We’re not going to do business with people who profit off of attacking Republicans,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the committee. “Purity for profit is a disease that threatens the Republican Party.”

Feeling that threat from the anti-establishment extremists, the establishment extremists—who want all of the same things that their zealous Republican brothers want—are now fully arming themselves in an attempt to convince Americans that they are the middle-ground answer to the problem posed by people who don’t want to govern at all and people who want to govern too much.

My point in all this is that Democrats should not just sit back and enjoy the Republican Civil War, delightfully tempting as that is. We have to keep reminding people that even though Mitch McConnell and some other Republicans seem to have learned their lesson about courting and coddling the zealots in the Tea Party, the only difference between the establishment and the zealots is that the zealots are at least honest about what they want to do.

[Photo:Getty Images]

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Surreality

How surreal it all is:

♦ First, there was teapartier Sen. Jim DeMint’s announcement of his new gig as president of the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank. That’s “think” tank. You know, where real thinking is supposed to happen. DeMint, though, first publicly explained his new thinking job on Rush Limbaugh’s show, where thinking goes to die.

♦ Then there was Sen. Mitch McConnell, who tried to embarrass Democrats by proposing a vote—an up or down vote without a filibuster—on legislation that would allow President Obama to extend the debt limit all by himself, without first getting congressional approval. McConnell obviously thought Harry Reid would nix the idea. But Reid embraced it, which caused the creepy McConnell to have to essentially filibuster his own bill. Yes. He proposed something and then said he would filibuster his own proposal.

♦ All of which caused Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, who at the time was acting as Presiding Officer over the floor exchange between McConnell and Reid, to let slip from her astonished mouth: “Got whiplash!

♦ And speaking of Claire McCaskill, now it turns out that her election opponent, Todd Akin, actually received secret last-minute cash—$760,000—from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which had publicly pledged not to support the evangelical pseudo-gynecologist.

♦ Then there is the prospect that a Democratic administration, one led by a man who conservative Republicans have determined is a wildly radical leftist, is, in the words of The New York Times:

considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Yes, President Obama, Choomer-in-Chief, might actually put the kibosh on cannabis lovers.

♦ Then there was the distasteful Ann Coulter explaining to the even more distasteful Sean Hannity that Republicans lost the election and they should let taxes on the rich go up.

♦ Then, just when we thought Republicans were coming around to the idea that the rich would have to cough up more dough, The New York Times tells us that a significant number of rich folks will still be able to avoid them.

♦ Then there is today’s jobs report. While most experts expected the number of jobs created last month to be restrained, mainly due to Superstorm Sandy, the jobs were actually up. Up enough to drop the unemployment rate to 7.7%, its lowest mark in four years. There were 146,000 jobs added.

♦ In the mean time, right in the middle of all the muddle about fiscal cliff-diving, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman says there is no “fiscal crisis,” only a “job crisis.” He says we should spend more not less:

So why aren’t we helping the unemployed? It’s not because we can’t afford it. Given those ultralow borrowing costs, plus the damage unemployment is doing to our economy and hence to the tax base, you can make a pretty good case that spending more to create jobs now would actually improve our long-run fiscal position.

♦ Finally, the guy who killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin is, uh, suing NBC. George Zimmerman alleges,

NBC News saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.

In the mean time, Trayvon Martin doesn’t get to sue anybody.

Remarks And Asides

It may be a while before Turd Blossom, Karl Rove, can again bloom on Fox “News.”

According to New York magazine, honcho Roger Ailes has put out the word that Rove and the Toesucker, Dick Morris, can’t be booked on any segment without permission from the top.

Rove and Morris have done something that up until now only Glenn Beck could pull off: embarrass Fox executives. Congratulations, boys!

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Dick Armey, former congressman and current Tea Party jerk, has taken his toys—and a cool $8 million—and left Freedom Works, the completely phony “grassroots” reactionary group. Nobody knows why Dick bugged out, and the point is, nobody really cares. We’re just glad the Tea Party is disintegrating.

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Speaking of teapartier’s quitting, Senator Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate.  He figures he has done all the damage he can do as a politician (even though he still has four years to go on his term) and will soon become president of the Heritage Foundation, which, as a font of much muddled thinking on the right, is doing damage on a much grander scale.

And, of course, there is much more money to be made out of government (the current Heritage president reportedly makes more than $1 million), as Sarah Palin, a teapartier who didn’t want to finish her term either, found out.

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Same-sex dope smokers can now get legally married and legally stoned, or vice versa, in Washington state.

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Pope Benedict XVI, the Vicar of Christ, is only the fifth most powerful person in the world. We’re finally making progress after 2000 years!

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Speaking of Christ, I found this little clip extraordinarily funny. Keep your eyes on the poor lady in the seat on the right, as she experiences the love of God:

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More Moocher Madness:

President Obama and the Democrats won last month’s election because they were able to turn out voters who are dependent on the government, former New Hampshire governor and Mitt Romney adviser John H. Sununu said last night.

Sununu, who during the election did everything but drop the N-word on Obama, said, “It was not because of message. It was not because of message.” No, of course not. Message had nothing to do with it. (Shhh. Don’t tell them any different. We like winning.)

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A couple of weeks ago, I heard an ad on the radio about Obama’s “third term.” Because I’m not nuts, I dismissed it as a cruel joke on right-wingers, an exploitation of their paranoia. Then today I found this advertisement on the Drudge Report:

obama third term

Okay, I couldn’t resist. I clicked. I now know that because of “new economic forces”—it turns out, somewhat disappointingly, to only be “the oil and natural gas boom“—Barack Obama will preside over such wealth creation and give away so many “handouts,” that we, us, you and me, will demand a third, possibly a fourth, term. Yep, in exchange for a few bucks, we’ll install our own dictator! I’m not kidding:

No one cheers more for a tyrant than those he enslaves. And so it will be in 2016, when the crowd will demand yet another Obama presidency.

The man behind this, of course, is selling something. In a mere 14,376 words (again, I’m not kidding), he explains how he can “help” us by showing us “how to position” ourselves and “profit” from the “massive economic changes” that are happening. And it’ll only cost us 99 bucks!

Small price to pay for enjoying Obama’s long reign in financial comfort. But come to think of it, if Obama is going to be so good to the people that we want to keep him around for a couple of extra terms, if he is going to make us prosperous or give us shit, why should I pay this guy 99 bucks for a newsletter?

I’ll just wait until I get my Obama money!

Food And Republican Logic

While watching “Up with Chris Hayes” Sunday morning on MSNBC, a Republican guest’s comment inspired me to present the following premises and conclusion, which taken together represent the twisted logic of the right-wing and its ongoing and ridiculous, if not partly racist, claim that Mr. Obama is the Food Stamp President:

♦ The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was formerly known as and still is popularly called the Food Stamp Program. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Nearly 75 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

♦ A significant change in SNAP occurred in 2002, including expanding it to “make more legal immigrants eligible for benefits,” according to the Agriculture Department. And according to a right-wing opponent of the increase in food stamp benefits, the 2002 bill, “increased benefits for families with more children, adjusted benefits for inflation and made it easier to enroll.”

♦ George Bush was president in 2002 and signed the expansion into law (as part of the big 2002 farm bill), saying at the time:

This bill is also a compassionate bill. This law means that legal immigrants can now receive help and food stamps after being here for five years. It means that you can have an elderly farm worker, somebody here legally in America who’s worked hard to make a living and who falls on hard times, that person can receive help from a compassionate government.

And as for Bush’s entire tenure as president, CNN reported earlier this year:

Food stamp enrollment has been rising for more than a decade. President Bush launched a recruitment campaign, which pushed average participation up by 63% during his eight years in office.

♦ Teapartiers Paul Ryan (whose famous budget cuts SNAP by $134 billion) and Jim DeMint (who now abhors increased spending on food stamps!), along with my former congressman and now senator from Missouri, Roy Blunt, voted for the 2002 food stamp expansion. So did then-senator and Missouri Republican Kit Bond.

♦ The 2008 version of the farm bill also expanded the food stamp program, and although Mr. Bush vetoed the bill (but not because of the food stamp expansion), Republicans provided the necessary margin to override his veto. That bill, again according to that same right-wing opponent of food stamp increases,

contained more than 30 provisions relating to food stamps, including higher minimum benefits. 

Again, Roy Blunt voted for the 2008 bill that expanded the program and voted in the House to override Bush’s veto.  In the Senate, the override vote saw 35 Republican senators—including Mitch McConnell—vote to override the veto. Missouri’s Kit Bond, along with both Kansas Republican senators, voted to override, thus expanding the food stamp program.

♦ The Great Recession, which cost millions of Americans their jobs and caused many people to seek help from the food stamp program, began while George Bush was president.

♦ Just before Mr. Obama came into office in January of 2009, the GDP shrank at an annualized rate of almost 9%. Yes, you read that right: “More than any other recession since the Great Depression.”

♦ The Democrats’ 2009 stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), did increase eligibility and funds for SNAP because:

In light of the increased demand for services and strained State budgets, the increased ARRA funding to State agencies that administer the SNAP program enables State governments to avoid reductions in services and to meet the increasing demand from low-income families and individuals resulting from the recession.

REPUBLICAN CONCLUSION: The fact that more folks needed and continue to need food stamps because of the Great Recession is all Barack Obama’s fault and he is, therefore, the Food Stamp President.

Besides admiring the audacity of the faulty logic of Republicans, it may interest you to know that for all the talk about food stamps and the number of Americans who need them, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average monthly benefit—I kid you not—is a whopping $133.84 (in Missouri it is $127.05).

Again, I kid you not. That tiny amount, most of it going to families with kids, is what generates all the divisive demagoguery—including Romney’s 47% nonsense—and what causes Republicans to bend the principles of logic in service to their Obama-hating agenda.

One Fine Day

Well, I said yesterday that Romney’s attack on President Obama for “sympathizing” with those who attacked and killed American diplomats on Tuesday—I still can’t believe Romney made it necessary to write that—would require a “multitude of relatively sober Republican leaders in Congress” to step forth and “call this for what it is” or else “the Republican Party is truly beyond redemption.”

Okay, so let’s look at what happened.

Joe Scarborough, who has his hear tuned to the weird frequency congressional Republicans use to broadcast their bullshit, tweeted:

He was “inundated,” he said. Some inundation. Quiet as could be.

No Republican that I could find openly condemned Romney for suggesting not once but twice that President Obama essentially sided with those attacking American embassies in that he felt the need to “apologize” to them. Not one Republican.

Oh, to be sure, there weren’t that many Republicans willing to go all-in with Mittens, but neither were they rushing to call him out for his recklessness or his questionable patriotism.

Of course, I didn’t expect they would. But I did expect people like Richard Lugar, a veteran Republican who gets credit for being sensible on foreign policy matters, to strongly criticize Romney’s irresponsibility, especially since Ambassador Chris Stevens worked as a staffer for Lugar on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But no criticism of Romney came from Lugar. Only rightful praise for Chris Stevens, whose priceless service and sad death Romney stomped all over with his viscous and opportunistic attack on the Commander-in-Chief.

What about John McCain, who fancies himself, depending on what day it is, the de facto Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, and sometimes even the de facto President of the United States. What did he have to say?

Well, I saw McCain twice on Thursday morning defending Romney. And I mean defending him. Here’s how NBC wrote up his appearance on the Today show:

A day after he and many fellow Republicans showed restrained reaction to the White House’s response to the deadly attacks against American diplomats in Libya, Sen. John McCain on Thursday ripped into President Obama for “feckless foreign policy” he said is harming Middle East relations.

See? Romney lies about and attacks the Commander-in-Chief before McCain’s dead “friend” Chris Stevens is cold, and McCain, statesman that he is, rips Obama—the man who ordered bin Laden to the bottom of the sea—as “feckless.”  Thank Allah that guy never actually became president.

What about Rob Portman, who was a Paul Ryan cowlick away from being Romney’s VP pick? What did he have to say about Romney’s unpatriotic overreaction to a statement from our embassy in Cairo? On CBS This Morning, he said this:

I think for Governor Romney, having seen that statement, to react as he did is the reaction that most Americans would have…which is that at a time when we have this kind of violence against American territory, the thing to do is to condemn it and not to begin by issuing an apology…

Are you bleeping kidding me? Huh? First, Governor Romney is not just one of a breed we call “most Americans.” We don’t want a man in the White House who will react like Most Americans. We want one who actually gets all the facts right before he runs his mouth, a running mouth that will run all over the world.

Second, Portman, as interviewer Norah O’Donnell tried to point out to him, is simply spouting off without knowing the chronology of events. For the millionth time, the statement—not cleared by the White House but completely acceptable given the circumstances—issued by a staffer in the embassy in Cairo occurred about six hours before the breach of American territory happened, and Secretary Hillary Clinton was quick to condemn the violence after it became clear what was going on.

Dammit, get it right. You’re a bleeping U.S. Senator for God’s sake.

I saw Allen West, congressman from a place in Florida where facts are apparently manufactured for convenience, repeat to the Three Stooges on Fox and Friends this morning the same lie Portman and Romney are still pushing:

We should not have made some type of conciliatory, apologetic stance in the middle of our embassies being attacked…

The fact that there was no apologetic stance at any time, let alone “in the middle” of an attack on our embassies, didn’t bother the Three Stooges, as they nodded in agreement with that lying fool from Florida, in all but pigmentation a perfect representation of today’s GOP.

I saw Jim Inhofe, the loopy senator from Oklahoma, aggressively defending Romney on Fox this morning, embarassing himself, and if it is possible to further embarass that God-forsaken and embarrassing state, Oklahoma.

I read a statement released by Senator Jim DeMint, the real father of the Obama-loathing, reactionary Tea Party, not only defending Romney, but also picking up Romney’s lie about the President, whom he hates with a Christianly, Waterlooish passion:

Governor Romney is absolutely right, there is no justification for these deadly attacks and we should never apologize for American freedom. Islamic radicals will use any pretext to justify their hatred of America and our freedom.

It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims, while real atrocities have been repeatedly committed by Islamic radicals against women, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East.

How do you begin to describe a party whose leaders say stupid and dishonest shit like that?

And speaking of stupid and dishonest shit.

Rush Limbaugh, who just a day earlier said Romney “may as well be Elmer Fudd,” since conservatives weren’t voting for him but “against Obama,” was on Wednesday all gooey-eyed and Viagra-hard over Mittens:

And after all this happens, guess who the bad guy is?  Mitt Romney, who is the only guy that looked presidential in all of this, who had the guts to go out and characterize this statement from the embassy accurately.  And the media is now saying that Romney jumped the gun, launched a political attack before the facts of the embassy violence were known…

Stupid and dishonest shit is what that is. But there is plenty more, which I won’t go into, except for what was revealed about Romney’s motives by none other than Laura Ingraham, the nasally, hysterical talk show host and Fox “News” regular, who hates Obama almost as much as she loves her converted-Catholic Jesus.

On Tuesday, before the events in Libya and Egypt, Ingraham said this about Mittens:

This is a gimme election, or at least it should be. If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people.

Ingraham was expressing the frustrations conservatives were feeling over Romney’s declining poll numbers. But on Wednesday, things had changed. After playing a clip of Romney’s presser in which he doubled-down on the initial lie about Obama and the embassy statement, Ingraham said:

Excellent. Mitt Romney is gettin’ his groove on…He did not back down one iota. That’s exactly how he should conduct this campaign. Keep these people back on their heels…Maybe this will just spur Obama to get a pair as well…

Her first caller after that stellar commentary was a spectacularly ignorant gentleman from New Albany, Indiana, who confessed that, “Obama makes my skin crawl,” after he chimed in with this:

This is what I’ve been waiting for. This-is-what-I-have-been-waiting-for. In one press conference, Governor Romney looked more presidential than any press conference I’ve seen Barack Obama conduct in four years…

Now, one would have had to see that pathetic Romney press conference to know just how disturbed is this gentlemen’s perception, but his comment does reveal the real reason why Mitt Romney behaved on Tuesday like Glenn Beck instead of a candidate for high office. He was trying to get people like Limbaugh and Ingraham and that low-information, bigoted American from Indiana to love him.

Because nothing makes palefaced folks say “I love you” like a factless attack on our feckless, Muslim-loving, hyper-apologetic, terrorist-sympathizing, Kenyan Commander-in-Chief.

And if Republicans want a party that only right-wing know-nothings on the radio and TV can love, then that is what they will have.

And one fine day they will have it all to themselves.

Stupid Pills Overdose

Tom Coburn, our senator-neighbor from Oklahoma, said the other day:

We have taken a stupid pill and now we sit bankrupt, physically bankrupt and fiscally bankrupt at this moment except we just haven’t recognized it yet. What’s happening in Europe is going to happen to us in less than a year.

Well, Mr. Coburn, who reportedly is a doctor, has apparently been first in line for the stupid pills. 

First, we’re not bankrupt. That’s a stupid thing to say while sitting in a country that is the richest in the world. The United States holds 39% of all the world’s assets. Get that? Second richest is Japan with less than 14%. It’s not even bleeping close. Our per capita GDP is $43,563; Germany’s is $39,339; Japan’s is $36,952. Incidentally, China’s is $3,769.  Stop it with the stupidity, Senator.

Second, Mr. Coburn will look pretty stupid in less than a year, when the United States is still here and, relative to the rest of the developed world, still thriving.

Third, I heard the good doctor say this morning on MSNBC that Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey and Jim DeMint were the good guys fighting the good fight in the U.S. Senate.  Now, given that those senators, especially Jim DeMint, are what is wrong with Washington, D.C., that is pretty damned stupid.

So, I say to the doctor: Physician, heal thyself.

Billy Long: A Profile In Courage?

Yesterday I mentioned that Colonel Ozark Billy Long, my congressman, attached his name to a letter addressed to the cut-the-deficit supercommittee, a letter that was signed by 40 House Republicans—37 of whom have at one time signed the Grover Norquist pledge not to ever, ever, ever raise taxes—and 60 House Democrats suggesting that,

To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.

That word “revenues” has impregnated many folks with hope that Republicans, at least some of them in the House, have come to their senses about the need to increase government revenues. (Jim DeMint has attempted to abort that hope with a list of 33 Senators who pledge to keep having political intercourse with Grover Norquist, however.)

One of my favorite pundits, Lawrence O’Donnell, even had a segment last night in which he posted the mugs of the 40 House Republicans under an approving header:

You may have noticed that red circle around the mug of Ozark Billy, which I put there to indicate that I don’t agree with the suggestion that Long’s including himself in the letter to the supercommittee constitutes some kind of profile in courage.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought about it. It is something like progress that 40 Republicans were willing to step out of the Norquistian shadows and see reality perhaps for the first time in their lives.

And I wanted to write a nice piece praising my congressman for his courage, for his political valor, for his willingness to give the finger to Grover Norquist.

But then I started thinking.

If someone who had been holding a hostage suddenly decided to let him go, would we be obliged to reward the hostage taker by giving him or her a medal of honor?  Republicans, including most of the signers of the letter, have been serial economic hostage takers. The fact that a few of them may have put the gun down and decided to try another way does not merit uncritical admiration.

Then, I noticed that the letter did not include any specific proposals or any definition of what “revenues” meant, in terms of raising them.  I’m sure most of the Republicans had in mind some kind of tax reform that would lower rates and eliminate deductions, thus possibly—and I say, only “possibly”—resulting in a net increase in government revenue.

And then I started thinking about what Billy Long has said this year.

During the debt-ceiling debate in July, he was quoted in the Springfield News-Leader as saying,

We are not going to raise the debt limit and they need to know that now instead of August 2nd.

The debt-ceiling fiasco nearly everyone now recognizes as one of the low points in American history. On the floor of the house, as the debt-ceiling nonsense raged, he said on July 19, “The people have spoken. The business community has spoken. When will the President and the Democrats listen?” and then he finished with this:

I would like to close with one of the hundreds of letters from one of my constituents:

 “Dear Congressman Long, do not budge. We put you in office to stop these big spenders. Go ahead and call his bluff. I am in tornado-ravaged Joplin and rebuilding my house. I’m glad you are covering my wallet in Washington.”

Call his bluff,” Billy!

As for jobs, in late summer he was quoted in the Joplin Globe as saying that the nation “doesn’t need a jobs project” and,

Now, we over-regulate, overtax-ate and over-litigate.

Overtax-ate“?  In two months has he suddenly changed his mind about the amount of taxes the government collects?  Huh?

On September 22, 2011 on the floor of the House he said,

We don’t do much right up here, and trying to run businesses is not something we should be doing. We should be reducing taxes, reducing spending, reducing regulation.

So, six weeks ago he was saying we should be “reducing taxes” and now he has come to Jesus on the need to raise revenues? Huh?

Then, this Wednesday, the same day the letter to the supercommittee was released, he said (my emphasis):

Mr. Speaker, I came to Congress as a small business owner. And as any small business owner will tell you, the government can’t create jobs, only the private sector can

…the reality is that government spending trades productive private sector jobs for usually wasteful public sector jobs….

As part of the House GOP Plan for America’s Job Creators, we’ve opposed the President whenever he wants to create new taxes or more regulations…

Since President Obama has been the champion of tax cuts, and since he has also been on board with reforming the tax code—as Long himself has said is necessary—it’s hard to say what Ozark Billy means by Obama wanting to create “new taxes,” except new taxes—which really aren’t “new”—on the wealthiest Americans.

Is the Colonel now, by virtue of his letter to the supercommittee, suddenly supporting increased taxes on the wealthy? It’s hard to believe that.

Thus, it’s also hard to give him any credit for courage for putting his name on a letter to the supercommittee that quite generically mentions “revenue” as being on the table.  I do hope, however, that it is a sign of a new phase of reasonableness in the political life of our congressman from Springfield, but I’m not ready to pin a medal on his chest just yet.

A Champion Of The Middle Class

You know, I confess that there are times—say, when I listened last night to a fool like Donald Trump or a lying scoundrel like Jim DeMint on Fox “News”—that following politics these days, at least for a committed liberal, is very difficult, mostly frustrating, and sometimes throw-in-the-towel ugly.

But then I listen to someone like Elizabeth Warren, who has decided to run against “Wall Street’s Favorite Congressman” Scott Brown in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy’s old senate seat, and I get new life.

Ms. Warren—who has earned the title of Saint Elizabeth—fought for the creation of the all-important Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Fortunately, she won that all-important fight for that all-important federal agency, and the reason I know it was all-important was because Republicans fought so hard—and they’re still fighting—to kill it.

In any case, St. Elizabeth appeared on St. Rachel’s show last night and I present part of that segment to you to demonstrate what a genuine public-spirited person sounds like, a public-spirited person who is willing to fight for the public. And as you listen I ask you to imagine what would happen to the quality of our governance if people like Elizabeth Warren comprised a majority in Congress:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks And Asides

Mitch McConnell, who at one time resisted the Tea Party temptation, has now succumbed and is apparently willing to drink a sweat Slurpee straight from Jim DeMint’s booty crack—with a short straw, mind you.

McConnell attacked Chuck Schumer today for accurately describing non-compromising Republicans as “extremists.”  McConnell said that Democrats are the real extremists.  Okay. I agree. Given the state of the budget discussions, congressional Democrats are extremely poor negotiators.  One might even say that if throwing in the towel were an Olympic sport, Democrats would be the Michael Phelps of surrender.

So far, they have managed to give Republicans more than half their budget cuts and have received next to nothing in return.  There must have been some sort of special election I missed.  When did the GOP grab control of the entire government again?

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Donald Trump, God’s gift to atheists everywhere, says that the reason President Obama won’t produce yet another valid birth certificate is that he may be hiding his Muslimism.

I am embracing this issue,” he told MSNBC, “I’m proud of the issue…somebody has to embrace it.” 

Thank you, Jesus.

Trump, by the way, has finally produced a valid birth certificate of his own, which proves once and for all he was not a creation of the Democratic National Committee’s Avatar Division. Let’s face it, that division has its hands full, what with creating and animating Michele Bachmann.

And technicians are still fine-tuning the latest version of Newt Gingrich, a project began long go.  The investment in the Gingrich-bot has paid off handsomely over the years and Democratic programmers are promising even more useful Gingrich quotes as time goes by.

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Speaking of Gingrich, I missed it last week when he criticized House Republicans for not being aggressive enough in the budget negotiations. On blabbing Hugh Hewitt’s talk show, he said Congressional Republicans should demand that President Obama give up his health reform law in exchange for Republicans agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.

I hate to admit it, but given the Democrats’ skill at negotiating, that might not be a bad strategy. If the GOP lawmakers try something like that, expect Democrats to counter-offer with a proposal to repeal those parts of the law already in effect and delay implementation of the rest until 3014.

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An Indiana Republican state legislator said the following in a debate over a jobs highly restrictive abortion bill he introduced, to which an amendment was proposed to make an exception for victims of rape or incest:

…someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest…

To that outrageous pap, Democrat Rep. Linda Lawson, a former sex crimes investigator for the Indiana police, replied:

Women don’t make this up! My Goodness! This is the state of Indiana!

Yes, unfortunately, Ms. Lawson, it is.

More Brilliance From Ozark Billy

Ozark Billy has weighed in on Obama’s speech.

Here’s a compilation of his brilliant commentary, courtesy of the Springfield News-Leader:

Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, said he thought the president was “off.”

“The content, to me, was lacking,” Long said in a post-speech interview.

“We’re in serious, serious problems in this country and we need to cut spending immediately. And he was talking about electric cars,” he said…

Long…said the president should have gone a step further and cut spending, instead of freezing it…

Long was especially disappointed with the president’s call to abolish oil subsidies* and the part advocating bipartisan work on last year’s health care bill, he said.

He liked some of the president’s suggestions, such as medical malpractice reform, which Republicans have championed. But, he said, Obama was late inviting Republicans to the table to discuss health care reform.

“It’s interesting now that he wants our ideas where last year he cut us out totally,” Long said.

And Long, along with his fellow Springfield Republican, Sen. Roy Blunt, criticized Obama’s lack of focus on jobs.

“I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear about cutting spending and creating jobs,” Long said.

Naturally, President Obama should have tailored his speech to please Ozark Billy, or maybe a Boss Hogg hat would have helped.

In any case, according to the News-Leader, “Long sat with members of the South Carolina delegation, including another auctioneer.”  That auctioneer is union-basher, Jeff Duncan, and I, for one, believe it is totally appropriate for our respected representative to spend quality time hanging around Republicans from South Carolina. 

And I don’t know if Joe “You lie!” Wilson was among the group Ozark Billy sat with, or if Jim “Waterloo” DeMint was nearby, but it is altogether fitting that someone who could say that Obama was “off” last night has all of the qualifications for membership in a rather strange fraternity of goofy Republicans from South Carolina.

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* Obama ask Congress to eliminate the subsidies because the industry seemed to be doing okay. Here is one example:

ConocoPhillips said Wednesday its fourth-quarter net income jumped 54 per cent as oil prices increased and its refining operations turned a profit.

The Houston company, reported net income of $2 billion, or $1.39 per share, for the final three months of 2010. That compares with $1.3 billion, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 22 per cent to $53.2 billion.

The sad thing about that is this, from the last summer’s New York Times:

…an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process…the tax breaks…average about $4 billion per year.

Now, nevermind that it makes no sense for Ozark Billy to get so upset about taking away subsidies for oil companies—southwest Missouri isn’t exactly Saudi Arabia—but to be so upset about that and at the same time whine about government spending is, well, that’s Ozark Billy for ya!

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