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Category Archives: Republicans

TIME Watches So We Don’t Have to

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Time’s Michael Scherer writes up the GOP debate, and it’s a hoot.   A sample:

 

–2 minutes. The debate hasn’t started yet, but the crowd is already restless. A mutiny is afoot. CNN may host this thing, but can CNN’s John King control it? “Let’s do the pledge,” shouts out someone in the audience, and then it happens, a spontaneous eruption of patriotism. The candidates hold their hearts onstage. This bodes well for America but poorly for the debate’s orchestrators. Note to cable producers: If you want to calm the GOP rabble in the future, plan for pre-broadcast patriotic odes.

And,

8 minutes. Pawlenty says President Obama is a “declinist,” which interestingly enough became a word in 1988, according to Merriam-Webster, right before a few years of U.S. decline. But Pawlenty is an optimist. “This idea that we can’t have 5% growth in America is hogwash. It’s a defeatist attitude,” he says. In other words, he calls out anyone who calls his hogwash “hogwash” for being full of “hogwash,” which is a strategy familiar to those who remember saying, “I know you are, but what am I?,” on the playground.

 

Sounds like Scherer nicely judged the participants’ tone and maturity levels.  But read it for yourself and laugh out loud (which is more than you did if you watched the actual debate).

 

 

h/t: Jonathan Chait, TNR

 

The Sarah Palin He Knows

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Documentarian John Ziegler writes about his experiences with the Palin campaign here.  Incredibly, after listing all the horrible and embarrassing confusions that befell him during his time defending Palin, Ziegler comes to this conclusion:

 

After all, contrary to popular belief, she is incredibly smart. Maybe she’s just getting bad advice from within her increasingly tiny and dysfunctional circle. Or perhaps she thinks it’s all good for her brand—which it probably is.

John: that’s why it’s called judgment.  Hers is poor.  It’s that simple.

Gingrich is Dead Man Walking

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Newt’s top aides quit, including his Iowa staff.  How do you define “dead man walking”?

Palin “Reintroduction” Tour

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The Bitch is trying to get worked up over Sarah Palin’s new house, national tour and movie, but she just can’t.  It’s not that she thinks Palin won’t run.  It doesn’t matter how prepared — or unprepared — a Palin Presidential is — it’s still Palin, and she is a rotten candidate: wacky conservatism aside, she doesn’t bone up on issues, she isn’t disciplined, she wastes time obsessing over slights real or imagined.  You can put lipstick on the pig, and all that.

Chris Cillizza reports:

“There has been zero outreach, zero effort,” said one senior South Carolina strategist of Palin. “Even when she was here for the [Gov. Nikki] Haley endorsement and the book signing, she swooped in [and] swooped out.”

An Iowa operative closely monitoring the 2012 race in the state although unaligned with any candidate echoed that sentiment. “If [Palin] is doing any outreach at all, it would have to be totally under the radar and not with the traditional activist crowd.”

Cillizza also tells us she hasn’t been in New Hampshire since 2008.

The Bitch suspects Palin, if she’s running at all and not just drumming up publicity for her movie, may be counting on the strength of her reinvigorated grassroots, using the movie as her facilitator and the ‘Net as her organizer.  Kinda breakin’ the mold there, breakin’ new ground.  Kinda rogue-ey.  Kinda not. Iowa and New Hampshire voters, especially, view themselves as entitled to kick the candidates’ tires.  They can’t do that if the candidate doesn’t show up.

Unbelievable II

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Here is what House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Heartless, Tactless & Stupid-VA) said about potential federal aid to stricken Joplin, MO:

“If there is support for a supplemental [spending bill; extra FEMA $$], it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.

In other words, no extra money for Joplin (estimated tornado damage upwards of $3 billion) without program cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.  ‘Cause the deficit is the Most Important Thing in The World, as the traumatized and grieving residents of Joplin ought to recognize.

Contrast this to what (then) House Majority Leader (and former “Dancing with the Stars” loser) Tom DeLay said in 2005, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

It is right to borrow to pay for it,” he [DeLay] said, adding that cuts could “attack the very economy” that Republicans were trying to bolster. [Emphasis added.]

The Washington Times, one of the two conservative dailies in Washington, DC, from which these quotes were taken, notes approvingly that Eric Cantor “learned” from DeLay’s “lesson.”  Conservatives spanked DeLay for daring to admit the obvious, not to mention the humane, and the appropriate, role of government in a national crisis.

Just for grins, Ryan Witt at Examiner.com proposed five ways Cantor could pay for the Joplin aid (but of course, ideology prevents the good Majority Leader from even thinking such apostasy):

  1. Nix oil company subsidies – $2.5 billion
  2. Allow the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest 2% of Americans to expire – $700 billion (over 10 years)
  3. Accept the Defense Dept.-recommended spending cuts of $78 billion
  4. Allow Americans to purchase the dreaded “public option” which would save $110 billion (over 10 years)
  5. End ethanol subsidies – $5 billion, and could cost the GOP Iowa in the 2012 Presidential….
Note that defunding NPR and Planned Parenthood, repeat targets for social conservatives, are not on this list….

Well, This Explains Boehner….

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But what about the rest of the bunch?  Never mind.

Jon Chait at TNR has it right, the Bitch thinks.

Having already taken what he knew to be a huge risk with minimal payoff by supporting the Ryan budget, what can we expect of Boehner during the debt ceiling debate? The market seems to be expecting that cooler heads will prevail. Why would he risk financial chaos? Isn’t he listening to business leaders? But within Boehner’s world, the riskiest move is to be seen as compromising the movement’s principles. When the negotiations tick down to the end, probably in August, Boehner may be thinking not of the guns pointed at the financial system but at the ones pointed at his back. [Emphasis added.]

Boehner has grasped what the Wall Street wing keeps shaking their heads over — the GOP has been subsumed by the ultra conservative wing allied with the Tea Party, and they despise the Wall Streeters.   If John Boehner wants to keep 1) his seat and 2) his job as Speaker, he knows he has to follow the ultras’ tune.  The question for the moment is, how far will the ultras push in order to wring concessions out of the Obama Administration?

The Girl Can’t Help Herself…

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Some things just must be commented upon…Rick Santorum tells talk-show host Hugh Hewitt that Senator John McCain, who as a Navy flier spent 5+ years in a Vietnam prison where he was tortured repeatedly, just doesn’t understand “enhanced interrogation,” that calm-sounding phrase that actually means torture.

Here is the fatal exchange:

HH: Now your former colleague, John McCain, said look, there’s no record, there’s no evidence here that these methods actually led to the capture or the killing of bin Laden. Do you disagree with that? Or do you think he’s got an argument?

RS: I don’t, everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden. That seems to be clear from all the information I read. Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I’ve seen, it seems pretty clear that but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden.

The Unbearable Lightness of Newt

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Or maybe he’s just unbearable.

The kind (if naive) Ezra Klein believes the pushback about Newt’s first divorce. That pushback, by the way, comes via Newt’s daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman, who works with her father in (at?) Newt, Inc., as Gingrich’s various endeavors are called.

Except for the fact that the story, first reported in 1984 in Mother Jones, is substantially true, according to what the First Mrs. Newt told the MoJo reporter.  The First Mrs. Newt is Jackie Gingrich Cushman’s mother.  Oooopsies.

Now, the weekend’s Newt News is chock-full of Newt Nuggets.  Nugget #1 is Newt’s statement on “Meet the Press” characterizing Paul Ryan’s budget as “right-wing social engineering,” and wrong for the country, even though several weeks ago he happily admitted to Time that were he still in Congress, he’d have voted for the…Ryan budget.  O-kay.

In that same interview — David Gregory got a Trifecta O’Fun yesterday, fer shure — Newt uttered Newt nugget #2, when he reiterated his support for the Peachy-Keen and Entirely Constitutional Individual Mandate found in Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health insurance reforms and the Affordable Care Act.

Now, today, Newt asks us all to ignore those comments about the Evil Incarnate Individual Mandate; he was just messin’ with our heads!  (To which Rachel Weiner, writing over at The Fix, asks readers to rate how badly Newt hurt himself.  Options included indicate that The Fix is still, as a creature of the establishmentarian Washington Post, taking Gingrich seriously as a GOP leader.  The Bitch can tell this because her preferred option, “Are You Effing Kidding Me??? This is A Mortal Wound,” is not included in the roundup, which you can read here.)

Newt Nugget #3 occurred when Gingrich took a moment to comment on his recent depiction of President Obama as a “food stamp president.”   Just so you know, here’s the full quote, courtesy of Ta-Nehesi Coates at the Atlantic and the Washington Post:

“President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history, Gingrich said.  “I want to be the most successful paycheck president.”

(Gee, the Bitch feels so much better now. But to resume.)

Getting back to the “Meet” interview and Nugget #3, Gregory referenced the speech, calling it “coded racially tinged language,” and asked Newt to explain what he meant.  Newt came over all coy confusion:

That’s, that’s bizarre. That — this kind of automatic reference to racism, this is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that — and what I said is factually true. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism? I have — I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.

Probably true, since that’s the point of using coded language.  However, in the same “food stamp” speech (given incidentally in the enlightened city of Macon, Georgia), Newt endorsed using “history tests” as a precursor to bestowing voting rights.  Unfortunately, those “tests” sound an awful lot like the literacy tests outlawed by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  You can read about literacy tests here; Newt’s endorsement is below.

You know, folks often talk about immigration. I always say that to become an American citizen, immigrants ought to have to learn American history. But maybe we should also have a voting standard that says to vote, as a native-born American, you should have to learn American history. You realize how many of our high school graduates because of the decay of the educational system, couldn’t pass a citizenship test. [Emphasis added.]

Greg Sargent reminds us (as if we could forget) that this kind of race-baiting will be typical of GOP attacks on the president throughout the rest of the cycle:

It’s not really all that surprising that conservatives would settle on a strategy of stoking white racial resentment, There’s a black president in the White House, and a growing perception among whites that anti-white bias is actually a bigger social problem than anti-black racial bias.

As usual, the GOP consternation isn’t over the endorsement of literacy tests, it’s over the pre-endorsement of the individual mandate.  Jonathan Bernstein has no sympathy whatsoever.

Newt Gingrich has a long record of saying outrageous things, worded in every case as if the demise of American civilization was at stake if we didn’t immediately drop everything and do whatever Newt thought was necessary today, and never mind it had nothing to do with whatever he was all worked up about last time. But instead of relegating him to wherever Democrats hid Jim Wright after his aborted Speakership, Republicans set Newt up in a highly visible Washington perch, pretended that his nonsense constituted Serious Ideas and made him an Intellectual, and enjoyed the benefits of his eagerness to use extremist language against the Democrats.

Bernstein concludes,

They propped him up. Now — for a while, at least — they’re going to have to live with him.

Well said, Mr. Bernstein, well said.

What We Can Learn from the Ensign Report

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That if you, as an elected official, decide to put the moves on your wife’s best friend while she, her husband and children are living with you and your family temporarily; and if/when you get found out and the husband approaches you for “financial support,” Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is NOT, NOT, NOT the guy to use as an intermediary to negotiate a settlement.  After all, he wanted John Ensign, the recently resigned GOP Senator from Nevada, to buy Doug and Cindy Hampton’s NV house for approx. $1.5 million; and then give the Hamptons an additional $1 million or so “start-over” money so they could relocate far away from the Ensigns and get on with their lives.  The nerve!

(In case you were wondering, the Mark Ensigns — the Senator’s parents — eventually came through with $96K, a payment the Senate Ethics Committee finds dubious under the law, since it’s probably an illegal campaign contribution.  It has referred the matter to the Federal Election Commission; actually, it’s referred the entire Ensign investigation to the Justice Department for their own investigation.  And people say ethics don’t count on Capitol Hill!)

Additionally, Senator Coburn failed in his central duty of keeping John Ensign’s dick in his pants, as Ensign said in his resignation speech:

My caution to all of my colleagues is to surround yourselves with people who will be honest with you about how you really are and what you are becoming, and then make them promise to not hold back no matter how much you may try to prevent them from telling you the truth. I wish I had done this sooner, but this is one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn.

Right.  Are we clear on this?  It’s not up to John Ensign to police his own character, it’s up to his posse, which in Ensign’s case were a bunch of highly aggressive devout Christians living in the infamous C Street townhouse owned by a little-known religious organization called “The Fellowship.”  Turns out they are the same folks who bring you the National Prayer Breakfast.  (Sex and eggs amongst the bacon.  Who knew?)

And, not that Ensign gives his bros any credit for this, they DID tell him “what [he] was and what [he] was becoming,” the randy Senator just didn’t give a damn.

In one passage of the report, Ensign’s “spiritual adviser,” Tim Coe, called Ensign from outside of a hotel room where the senator was with Cindy Hampton and told him: “I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what you are doing. Put your pants on and go home.

You can read the whole ethics report here, if you don’t mind tossing your Cheerios.  The Bitch sincerely hopes the Senator ends up doing hard time.  (But admits he probably won’t.)

The GOP Field, Considered

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(One in an occasional series, or when the various candidates prove irksome…)

Nate Silver considers the odds of the GOP field via regression analysis and polling magic.  No matter how he slices it, Mitt Romney comes out on top for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Let’s take a moment and look at Romney’s record:

  1. Venture Capitalist;
  2. GOP nominee for US Senate v. Ted Kennedy 1994;
  3. Salvaged, reorganized and successfully managed 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, UT;
  4. One-term Governor of Massachusetts;
  5. Drafted, passed single payer health plan for MA;
  6. GOP candidate for US President 2008, 2012.
None too shoddy, one has to admit.
However:
  1. Romney is a Mormon, a denomination considered by some Christians (especially Evangelicals) as cultists and/or non-Christian;
  2. In the 1994 Senate race he affirmed to the Log Cabin Republicans that he’d be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy would be; and then backtracked in 2002 and 2008;
  3. he is personally pro-life but believes abortion should be safe and legal; until he doesn’t….
  4. Drafted,passed single payer health plan for MA;
  5. See #1.
Note: The Bitch does not hold Governor Romney’s religion against him.  Certain evangelicals have done, and some figure prominently in their states’ nominating processes.
What does Mitt Romney believe?  Well, it depends what he’s running for.  In the 90s, when he ran for the US Senate seat from Massachusetts, he believed in gay rights and abortion.  Romney, from one of his Senate debates with Ted Kennedy:
I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.
Sounds pretty unambiguous, doesn’t it?  However, once he was running for President, his tune changed:
On January 29, 2007, in a visit to South Carolina, Romney stated, “Over the last multiple years, as you know, I have been effectively pro-choice, I never called myself that as a label but I was effectively pro-choice and that followed a personal experience in my extended family that led to that conclusion.” Romney continued saying every decision he made as governor, “in a very liberal state has been on the side of favoring life, I am firmly pro-life.”
Well, Governor, aren’t we all?  Currently, the Governor believes that life begins at conception, that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, with the states making the decisions on abortion legality, and that partial birth abortion should be banned.  He’s not too partial to stem cell research, either.
On gay rights, well….”varied” is the term of art used most often to describe the Romney worldview.  In 1994 he sent his infamous letter to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, claiming he’d be a better advocate for gay rights in the US Senate than Ted Kennedy had been:
If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.  My opponent cannot do this. I can and will.
Boys and girls, that’s a declarative statement.  However, Mitt Romney lost the 1994 US Senate race.
He continued to support domestic partnership rights, including health care coverage and rights of survivorship through the 2002 gubernatorial election, but couldn’t bring himself to support civil unions or, Heaven Forfend, gay marriage, despite his commitment to equality for gays and lesbians in 1994.
And then there’s health care…as usual, Greg Sargent nails it:

Let’s get one thing straight: No matter what Mitt Romney says in his big health care speech tomorrow, it won’t solve the huge political problem he faces with conservatives unless he flatly repudiates the individual mandate at the center of Romneycare.

Finally, there’s the Mormon question…

In 2008, Romney’s religion cost him the Vice-Presidency, and possibly even the Presidential nomination itself.  He didn’t have much of a chance at winning that one, but evangelical leaders made it very clear to GOP nominee John McCain that they wouldn’t support Romney as his running mate.  Thus we got Sarah Palin.

Fast-forward to 2011:  It’s not at all clear that evangelicals continue to hold Romney’s religion against him.  They may have learned something about Mormonism in the three years since 2008, or they may have just decided that a Mormon is better than any Democrat…Then again, the sticking point may not be his religion at all.  It may all come down to his refudiation of single payer.  Or it may come down to his track record of trying to have it both ways on contentious issues near and dear to GOP hearts.

What does Mitt Romney believe?  Who knows?

ADDENDUM:

The Bitch’s two favorite headlines on the Mitt Matter:

Mitt Romney Continues to be Haunted by Past Reasonableness; and,

Mitt Romney Haunted by Past of Trying to Help Uninsured Sick People.  Enjoy!

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