Guest post by Smartypants
What’s frustrating in reading all this nonsense is that it seems that very few people pay any attention to history these days – even the more recent variety. Because if they did, they’d know that the Democrats had their own populist movement not that long ago. And the real question is whether or not we can sustain it on a national level going in to the 2016 presidential election.
To set the stage, we have to go back to what led up to the Reagan/Bush years. For the best description of how that happened, I’d suggest that folks read what Peter Beinart wrote about it a couple of years ago. To summarize, coming out of the left-wing hey-day of the 60’s, Democrats got their butts kicked for 20 years in presidential elections – with the one exception being the Carter years that were a direct result of Nixon’s Watergate. Here’s what the Republicans did:
1972 – 520 electoral votes (49 states)
1980 – 489 electoral votes (44 states)
1984 – 525 electoral votes (49 states)
1988 – 426 electoral votes (40 states)
As you might imagine, Democrats were scared shitless that their future as a national party was over (things looked even worse for them than they currently do for Republicans these days). And so, a group of mostly Southern Democrats got together and formed the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985. Their goal was to shift the Democratic Party more towards “centrist” policies. But perhaps more importantly, they felt the need to attract more big money donors to the Democratic Party in order to compete with Republicans.
The result of these efforts was the election of Clinton/Gore (both founders of the DLC) in 1992. Perhaps since the Democrats were still fairly new to this whole business of big money donors, Clinton/Gore got off to a rocky start that resulted in a whole string of scandals about campaign finance. In case you’re forgotten about all that, just think “Lincoln bedroom.”
To connect this with the current race for VA governor, it was during Clinton’s presidency that he installed Terry McAulliffe (big donor fundraiser extraordinaire) as the head of the Democratic Party. That’s why you see the Clinton’s campaigning so hard in his election – their connection to McAuliffe is deep.
One of the first Democrats to speak out against this capture of the party by the DLC was Paul Wellstone; it was the context for the line that was eventually adopted by Howard Dean: “I represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”
And then came Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004. Anyone who actually paid attention knows that – other than his anti Iraq war position – Dean was no flaming liberal. But his bottom-up anti-establishment campaign was a direct challenge to what the DLC and the Clinton’s had built – especially in their reliance on big money.
As a full-blown Deaniac at the time, I watched the Clinton machine go after Howard Dean – as ferociously (perhaps moreso) than the Republicans did. And that became even more evident after Dean lost the presidential primary to John Kerry and went on to out-maneuver them to become Chair of the Democratic Party following Kerry’s loss to Bush.
As you probably know, Dean instituted a 50-state strategy, which was an attempt to build up the party to be competitive in all 50 states. Rather than the party elites picking candidates, Dean wanted them to come from the grassroots. And even after his success in the 2006 elections, the Clinton machine brought out the knives against him. You can read about some of that here. But perhaps the crux of it came when James Carville said that Dean should be fired and replaced with…get this…Harold Ford (then DLC Chair).
All of that is what set the stage for a lot of the acrimony that surfaced between the Obama and Clinton campaigns in 2008. From the beginning, Barack Obama made it clear that he was not a member of the DLC and instead built his campaign on a new and improved version of Howard Dean’s bottom-up grassroots model. While Clinton continued to rely on big money donors, Obama showed that the presidency could be won by harnessing the power of millions of small donors – shattering the whole DLC model.
Via that primary and a win in November 2008, President Obama offered a way out of establishment big money politics. That is why I’ll be watching what happens in 2016. Can we find a way to preserve what Obama has done after he’s gone? Has Hillary Clinton learned anything from her defeat and her time with the President in the White House? Or will her candidacy take us back to the top-down big money model of the (now-defunct) DLC? And finally, if Clinton demonstrates that she hasn’t changed, is there someone who can pick up the mantle from Obama and continue his legacy?
If people really paid attention to our not-too-distant past, those are the questions we’d be asking.
I watched this clip a little while ago and then turned to Chuck Todd’s show on MSNBC to see him doing exactly what Jon Stewart shamed the media about, false equivalences. Chuck Todd is the poster child for what is wrong with the media, he has helped to re-brand lying as “messaging”.
If you were wondering where a lot of the terrible laws and attacks on our rights are coming from, meet ALEC. From the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance…
“ALEC” is the American Legislative Exchange Council, and it may be the most powerful organization you (probably) never heard of. There’s a good chance ALEC already has impacted your life. And if it hasn’t yet, give it time.
ALEC describes itself as an organization that “provides a constructive forum for state legislators and private sector leaders to discuss and exchange practical, state-level public policy issues.” Others have called it a means for powerful corporations and interest groups to influence legislation to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.[...]
Let’s look at specific examples. Insurance companies wanted off the hook from mesothelioma claims, so ALEC came forward with a model bill to protect corporations from asbestos exposure liability. The bill quickly was introduced in Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, and at the federal level. The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act would require asbestos victims and their families to publicly disclose all manner of personal information before receiving compensation. This information could be used to deny credit or employment and make the victims vulnerable to identity theft. The point, obviously, is to intimidate people from filing claims. No such disclosure is required of companies that exposed employees and customers to asbestos.
In fact, liability protection is a major focus of ALEC bills. As of August 2013, this year at least 71 bills crafted by ALEC have been introduced around the country that make it harder to hold corporations accountable for death or injury. Many have misleading names, such as the “Full and Fair Noneconomic Damages Act,” introduced in two states, that limits the amount a corporation has to pay to compensate people it has injured.
Go read the whole article and beware!
Only the crazy, racist, brain dead people of the right-wing propaganda machine could turn a Department of Justice unit called the Community Relations Service into a nefarious group and claim they helped “organize” the protests in Sanford Florida, following the national exposure of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. The CRS is tasked with preventing tensions in racially charged situations, the opposite of what the idiots are claiming.
It fits nicely in their up is down, down is up world, doesn’t it?
I won’t link to any of the many posts flying around the wingnutosphere claiming that this Community Relations Service helped to “organize” anti-Zimmerman protests. The following is what the Community Relations Service actually does, via Media Matters for America…
The Community Relations Service is the Department’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.
For more than 45 years, CRS has been asked to provide its experienced mediators to help local communities resolve conflicts and disturbances relating to race, color, or national origin. Each year CRS’ highly skilled conciliators bring hundreds of community-wide conflicts to peaceful closure across America and its territories.
I imagine that the wingnuts really don’t want tensions to be eased, they hope to see cops bring out the riot gear and beat some people down for their sick pleasure. They really want there to be riots, you can tell by all the stories that have been written fantasizing about it. Don’t be surprised if they bus in instigators to cause disturbances, that is how they roll.
The overt racism within the right-wing media is bubbling over. Since the election of President Obama, the backlash from racists has been obvious to anyone not mired in that hateful, ignorant world. The Trayvon Martin trial has brought many of them out of their shells. They are incapable of seeing Trayvon as a living, breathing, 17 year old kid with college aspirations and a caring heart, but rather as a “thug” or any of the adjectives that George Zimmerman was recorded calling young Trayvon.
When anyone even starts to justify the killing of Trayvon, an innocent young man walking home from the store, I cut them right off. In my mind, anyone capable of justifying the murder of Trayvon Martin is a sick motherfucker and needs help. There is absolutely no justification for murdering Trayvon Martin in cold blood, NONE!
The only person responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death is George Zimmerman, full stop.
The immigration reform process going on in Washington presents us with a perfect example of why congress is the biggest joke in the country. From Steve Benen at Maddowblog. (emphasis mine)
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) told Dave Weigel yesterday one of the main reasons and he and his House Republican colleagues will not support comprehensive immigration reform.
“If you’re the White House right now,” he theorized, “and you have a signature law — that is, Obamacare — that is completely a legacy issue for the president, and it’s looking like implementation is going to be a disaster, and if you’re on your heels in terms of these scandals, and you’re flummoxed by the NSA, there’s one issue out there that’s good for the White House. That’s immigration. The question is: How much energy does the White House actually put into getting the legislation, or do they want to keep the issue for 2014?“
I hear this quite a bit from the right. Democrats say they want to pass reform legislation, the argument goes, but it’s a sham. What those rascally Democrats really want, conservatives argue, is for immigration reform to fail so Democrats can use the issue against the GOP in the 2014 midterms and beyond.
And every time I hear this, I’m convinced our public discourse has slipped a little deeper into madness.
Look, this isn’t complicated: Democrats want to pass immigration reform. President Obama wants to pass immigration reform. When the reform bill reached the Senate floor yesterday, it received 100% support from Democratic senators, and support is expected to be at a similar level among House Dems. If the party were engaged in some elaborate ruse, they’ve apparently managed to fool everyone, including themselves.
In fact, I’d love to hear Roskam and others who share his ideology explain the electoral rationale behind their strategy. He seems to be arguing, “Democrats want immigration reform to fail so they can use it against us, therefore, we should make sure reform fails so that they can use it against us. That’ll show ‘em!”
I think there is also something missing from the above snippet, the fact that Republicans never want to give President Obama a win. They see any legislation that gets passed as a win for the president. Maybe they aren’t aware that he has already been reelected and “giving him a win” isn’t going to help him electorally. It might help his legacy, but is trashing President Obama’s legacy worth more to them than representing their constituents? It could be the reason why they are less popular than child molesters.
I find myself thinking of this quote from Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride a lot lately. It is overused, I know, but it works so well.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The word I’ve been hearing a lot lately that fits Inigo’s observation is “scandal”.
According to Merriam Webster, the word scandal is defined as
2 : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety.
The #1 definition was a religious one.
We’ve all heard the Republicans and their stenographers, the press, say the word “scandal” about a million times in the last couple of months. But do any of these issues really qualify as a “scandal”? I say NO.
The Benghazi Scandal That Isn’t
American embassies and consulates have been attacked many times in our history, particularly in dangerous areas. Bob Cesca did an amazing job in compiling the attacks on America during the Bush administration. Here is a portion of that post.
January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.
February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)
September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.
I’m racking my brain trying to remember a “scandal” coming from any of these attacks.
The idea that changing “talking points” to not tip off the terrorists responsible for the attacks was some sort of massive conspiracy to make the President look good is just ridiculous. We shouldn’t forget that this “scandal” started with Mitt Romney putting his foot in his mouth during the campaign and since then, the GOP has doubled down on it many times. They were so sure that it was the one thing that could take the President out, if only someone would listen. The real reason that Republicans are trying to create a “scandal” where there is none is because they can’t accept that they got their asses kicked again by President Obama. It’s one giant case of sore-loseritus. The next step is for the Republicans to ask for a “do over” or a “mulligan” on the 2012 elections. Get over it, you lost. And a free tip for you Republicans, Americans don’t like sore losers, you look like fucking weasels.
And remember, the media and the GOP are calling this an “Obama scandal”. First off, there IS no scandal there. There was no violation of “morality or propriety” by anybody, let alone the President. There hasn’t been any connections to the President at all. With the release of the emails that Jon Karl of ABC News was duped about (being generous), that show that the White House let the agencies involved fight over the infamous talking points, this whole issue should be but a bad memory. And my god, they were freaking talking points. Talking points that were prefaced by Susan Rice in the following way.
“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is…”
What exactly is so hard to understand about this, unless you just don’t want to understand…then it is understandable. :)
The AP And Fox News Leak Investigations Read more »
The CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, Rex Tillerson, said this with a straight face.
“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” CEO Rex Tillerson said at the oil giant’s annual meeting Wednesday.
This statement should be used as a test on people to determine if their head is up their ass or not.
Oh, and with a quick search of Google, I confirmed that he is a Republican when I found this link that shows his donations.
I’m not sure exactly when it began, but a growing number of elected Republicans are extremely stupid. There is so much stupidity coming out of their mouths on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up with it. One of the reasons I love Steve Benen from the Maddowblog is because he likes to keep track of and make fun of stupid Republicans. But he is much more respectful than I am.
Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got a little confused. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Iowa Republican read brief remarks in which he condemned the Obama administration for pushing a “court-packing” strategy in which the president would nominate judges to fill existing vacancies. [...]
I assumed at the time that this was an amusing-but-isolated misstep involving a Republican senator who routinely gets baffled by details. But I assumed wrong — this is apparently the new GOP talking point.
…Grassley isn’t alone in making these charges. During floor remarks last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of plotting with the White House “to pack the D.C. Circuit with appointees,” and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) worried aloud that Democrats may “decide to play politics and seek — without any legitimate justification — to pack the D.C. Circuit with unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda.”
Even The Wall Street Journal piled on last week, arguing in an editorial that the D.C. Circuit “doesn’t need new judges to handle the workload” and filling those vacant seats would be akin to “packing the court for political ends.”
Not to put too fine a point on this, but the argument is simply crazy. In the American system of government, it’s madness to suggest the president is doing something controversial when he nominates qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the federal bench.
It seems that the longer President Obama is in office, the more brazen Republicans get with their outright denial of his legitimacy. I imagine by the end of his second term, they will be bitching about him living in the White House or flying on Air Force One.
More from Steve Benen…
I hate to break this to Senate Republicans, but President Obama was elected — twice. Presidents submitting judicial nominations to the Senate to fill vacancies is pretty much the definition of normal presidential behavior. If the GOP finds this annoying, they’ll have to take it up with the Constitution.
Go read the entire piece, it goes into the dirty tricks Republicans are attempting to prevent President Obama from doing his job.
The Republican party has no shame. They lie, cheat and steal their way into office. They embody such good Christian values…cough, choke, spit.
I often fantasize about a movie in the style of “Oh God”, where George Burns (God) confronts people like Michelle Bachman and Louie Gohmert or a long list of Republicans who blatantly tell falsehoods, repeatedly and even after being called out on it. If there is a hell, I imagine there will be an especially hot place reserved for these people.
It’s not often that we get to see the birth of one of these lies, placenta and all. From Steve Benen…
The National Republican Senate Committee accused Markey yesterday of claiming he “invented the satellite dish, low-cost mobile phone calls, and the ability for cable companies to provide long distance service.” The NRSC added, “Perhaps Markey can use the technology he invented to call, tweet, or message his friend Al Gore, inventor of the internet.”
Conservative humor is just so droll, isn’t it?
The problem, of course, is that the National Republican Senate Committee is lying. For one thing, Al Gore never claimed to be the inventor of the Internet. It just never happened — Republicans distorted a Gore comment, the media uncritically ran with it, and a ridiculous smear quickly entered the public consciousness.
For another, Markey didn’t say he “invented the satellite dish.” Matt Yglesias sets the record straight.
What Rep. Ed Markey helped to do in the 1992 Cable Act was to force the cable companies to license content to satellite companies in order to compete with the vertically integrated cable systems that were beginning their takeover of television markets. Competition being a good thing, right?
I guess it’s hard to blame them for attempting it, since the “Al Gore invented the internet” lie worked so well for them in 2000. And with the superficial media, who I’m beginning to think are illiterate, gladly helped to perpetuate that lie.
The sad thing is, the media is much worse than it was in 2000. Let’s see how they handle this one.
Go here to see the video, for some damn reason, my version of WordPress doesn’t like MSNBC’s embedded code. (curses under his breath)
This morning on Morning
Joke Joe, Rev. Sharpton asked an excellent question, which prompted Governor Snyder to reveal how he feels about our right to elect our local leaders.
Rev. Al: …how do you deal with the fact that the “customers” as Kevin called them, feel disenfranchised. I mean, you made a unilateral decision. Their elected officials have really been, their power has been taken away and it undermines peoples right to vote because the only one who voted for Kevin was you. And this is something that is very disturbing that you have governors undermine the will of voters. There was s referendum last year that was opposed to this kind of action, you did it anyway.
Gov. Snyder: Reverend, if you look at it, the old law went away but we put in a new one that really was responsive to the issues that came up during that process. If you look at it, I’m also the elected official. I was elected by the people of Michigan, so there is an elected official responsible for this process and I think that is critically important.
Rev. Al: But what about the local elected officials, what about if I’m in Detroit, Rev. Charles Williams and others are raising this. In all due respect, and I voted for a city council and a mayor to represent me during this financial crisis. Now you bring in someone unelected, like in Pontiac, we had someone on the show who talked about an emergency manager came and sold the Silverdome for a half a million dollars that had been valued at several million dollars, over 200…I mean, Kevin has no one to answer to in the local constituency. That’s undemocratic. (emphasis mine)
Gov. Snyder: Blah, blah, blah….(my words)
If you want to know the details of what is happening in Michigan, go over to Eclectablog.com and spend some time in the archives, because Chris Savage has been all over this for many years and has the facts to back him up.
Now that I got that out of the way, Governor Snyder’s response to Reverend Al’s first question is an admission that he thinks he was elected dictator of Michigan. How else can it be interpreted? He said, “I’m also the elected official”, which translates as, I have authority over local officials and I have the power to invalidate their elections. I am a supreme elected official, I take precedent over those peons.
But let’s back up a little. He said prior to that, in regards to the referendum that we in Michigan overturned on November 6th, 2012, that the law “went away”, as if it just got lost on its way to Lansing. The people of Michigan made their voices heard, but Snyder ignored us and the Republican’s abused their control of the Michigan legislature and passed a new one. They slipped some money into this one, which they claim under Michigan’s laws makes it immune from a referendum.
It’s not just the goal of the law that’s offensive. House Republicans, stinging from a voter referendum last month that overturned the previous emergency financial manager act, have arrogantly inserted an almost $6 million appropriation into the new emergency financial manager law. By adding an appropriation, Republicans hope to make the law immune to another voter referendum.
It’s just one more example of the dirty tricks that Koch-financed Republicans across the country are pulling to privatize states and sell them off to their corporate buddies like the Koch brothers.
This has to change NOW!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
This podcast was recorded on March 6, 2013 and we take on the Republican’s “lead me Seymour” mentality; obstruction/dirty tricks; the emergency financial manager coming to Detroit to take away representation; blogging for Malaysia on the right and we delve into some pop culture and talk about the freak show that is the paparazzi in America.
The RSS Feed for the podcast is in the right column.
Sometimes it takes a really old politician who doesn’t quite have the talking points down in order to get honesty from the Republican party. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) let the truth spill out last week in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. (emphasis mine)
“I’m for sequestration,” Hatch said, if Congress can’t cut spending. “We’ve got to face the music now, or it will be much tougher later.”
And in the very next paragraph, the Tribune offered this…
With across-the-board spending cuts set to kick in next week, Hatch said sequestration would lead to an economic disaster in Utah as two-thirds of civilians working at Hill Air Force Base would be furloughed. He said it would be “devastating to our nation’s readiness.“
Republicans are trapped inside a bubble of their own making. They keep breathing the fetid air inside the bubble and it clearly makes them crazy.
A little history for those who have lives and don’t follow all this political back and forth.
- Republicans held the economy hostage in the summer of 2011. Remember the first “debt ceiling crisis” that made the markets jittery and caused Standard and Poors to downgrade the U.S. credit rating for the first time in our history? I envy you if you don’t remember it. The ransom was basically the sequester and John Boehner bragged about getting 98% of what he wanted when it was over.
- The sequester was supposed to force Democrats and Republicans to come together (super committee) and solve the imaginary crisis that existed only in the minds of Republican politicians who thought that if they made the economy tank, they could somehow blame it on the one guy who the American people trust, President Obama. How did that work out for them on November 6, 2012?
- The super committee came and went with Republicans continuing their childlike ways, kicking and screaming on the floor, saying no repeatedly and whining like someone took their pacifier away at bedtime.
- Which brings us to the most recent debt ceiling crisis, because you know, nothing better to do. President Obama stood firm this time, fool me once…and Republicans folded like an origami swan. Well, actually, they punted and acted like children once again by just pretending like there is no debt ceiling until May 18th, 2012.
- And now we have dunt, duh duh….SEQUESTER. I like to refer to it as “John Boehner’s 98%” or “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Sequester”.
And why on earth would the Republicans stick to this dumb ass tactic? So they can blame it all on President Obama. And Republicans were all excited when they got an assist from Bob Woodward, who in his insider wisdom, came up with a “moving goalpost” analogy that was crushed by several real journalists.
What a great plan, Republicans. Hurt your constituents, hurt the U.S. economy some more, make up a bunch of lies to cover your sorry asses and get the compliant and equally dumb ass media to play along with it. On Sunday morning, I stopped counting the word “blame” when I reached 15. The media likes playing the blame game just as much as the Republicans, commissioning polls to see who the public will “blame” when the cuts start hurting.
This is what passes for strategy in the Republican Party of 2013.
I’m enjoying watching the reaction from Republicans to President Obama’s incredible second inaugural speech. I especially like their whining about the President not reaching out to them.
They way I see it, the Republicans are speeding towards the edge of the cliff and now they want the President to grab their outreached hands and save their tea party asses before the “momentum of their ideology” flings them into the canyon. Sorry dudes, this is your runaway mess. Enjoy the ride.
It takes a special kind of crazy to spend four years walking in lockstep against our President and slapping his outreached hand at every turn, only to cry about him not reaching out to them in the second inaugural. It has become obvious to anyone who is honest with themselves that the Republican Party is bankrupt, out of ideas and has no foundation remaining. They are a reactionary party now, and they don’t seem to be doing that very well either.
Beyond that, they are also becoming a party of whiners. Recent articles by Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and David Brooks give us the best examples of this. Krauthammer started the trend that is best summed up by Smartypants as “conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy”. Here is a piece of Krauthammer’s whine, via Smartypants…
He’s been using this, and I must say with great skill–-and ruthless skill and success–to fracture and basically shatter the Republican opposition… His objective from the very beginning was to break the will of the Republicans in the House, and to create an internal civil war. And he’s done that.
Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, came up with yet another great expression for us liberals to use, in bold.
The debt ceiling is a form of leverage they can’t responsibly use. A partial government shutdown or full implementation of the sequester are less toxic alternatives but of questionable utility. [...]
Given this weak Republican position, Obama must be tempted by a shiny political object: the destruction of the congressional GOP. He knows that Republicans are forced by the momentum of their ideology to take positions on spending that he can easily demagogue.
For a noted Republican to admit that the Republican Party is out of control, careening towards the cliff, is pretty astounding. I have very little sympathy for them, since we all watched as Republican leaders let the Tea Party take the wheel of their party while they stood on the curb cheering.
It’s more likely that today’s majority party is going to adopt a different strategy, which you might call Kill the Wounded. It’s more likely that today’s Democrats are going to tell themselves something like this:
“We live at a unique moment. Our opponents, the Republicans, are divided, confused and bleeding. This is not the time to allow them to rebuild their reputation with a series of modest accomplishments. This is the time to kick them when they are down, to win back the House and end the current version of the Republican Party. [...]
“Then he could invite a series of confrontations with Republicans over things like the debt ceiling — make them look like wackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. Along the way, he could highlight women’s issues, social mobility issues (student loans, community college funding) and pick fights on compassion issues, (hurricane relief) — promoting any small, popular spending programs that Republicans will oppose.
That last paragraph is just hilarious considering the reality that we all just witnessed.
I frequently ask myself who the Republicans think they are appealing to with this whining strategy. Do they think that the base of their party wants to hear them cry about those mean ole Democrats? I’m sure more than a few Republicans are calling them some choice names for that.
Do they think their whining appeals to Democrats who just worked their asses off to defeat their party? If anything, it makes us gleeful as we watch them form a circular firing squad and then argue about who gets to go first.
Maybe they think all that crying and whining will appeal to independents in the country. I suspect there are a few of those who will sympathize with them, since that swath of “independents” or “undecideds” aren’t the brightest bulbs in the bunch – see the CNN focus groups after the debates.
I probably shouldn’t get so much pleasure from seeing all this, but I do hope this Republican sideshow gets picked up for another season.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
H/T to Smartypants for the links!
As the wheels on the Republican clown car keep flying off one at a time, our President and Vice President continue to prove that the Democratic Party is the only serious, adult political party in Washington these days. Even with the obstructionist GOP pulling every dirty trick in the book, the President and Democrats keep moving forward and fighting for all Americans.
I remember back to December of 2012 when Republicans started telegraphing their intention to try to use the debt ceilings as “leverage” to destroy the safety net that took generations to weave and I thought to myself that they clearly didn’t learn any lessons from the last election.
I laugh every time a Republican, or one of the media that parrots them, tries to make the lame ass argument that because the GOP retained control of the House, even though they lost seats, that somehow they won. Here is one example of that denial from Boehner the Blubberer…
“The American people want solutions, and tonight they responded by renewing our House Republican majority,” House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who ran unopposed in his re-election bid, declared Tuesday night.
And of course Buzzfeed, a wannabe Politico, took the idiotic concept even further.
Americans, for all their griping, apparently really do prefer their government deeply divided and dysfunctional.
I almost feel silly spelling this out for people, but in our current state of political and media dysfunction, you really do have to spell it out in precise detail for the uninformed or Fox News brainwashed masses. We each vote for our individual representatives and senators and when the dust settles on the election, we find out which party came out ahead. I’ve never seen a line on a ballot that gave me the option of voting for who controls a branch of congress or a check box for “divided government”. It’s wherever the chips fall. It’s magical thinking to believe that somehow the American people coordinated their votes to reach an outcome.
I feel similar about the folks on the left saying that more people voted for Democrats than Republicans when you add up all the votes. Well, we don’t add up all the votes or if we do, it means absolutely nothing. I certainly agree with the people pointing out the gerrymandering that took place in order for Republicans to keep so many seats, but the fact that Democrats received more votes overall, shouldn’t be used in the same way Republicans are using the overall outcome in the House. Democrats should stick to the facts, we picked up seats in the House.
The changing metric of who won or lost an election in the Republican’s minds reveals just how pathetic they are. If the roles were reversed and Democrats retained the House while Republicans picked up seats, you know damn well that they would be saying they won because they picked up seats. The grasping for some kind of straw that they can use to say they won is comical to me and reveals just how easy it is to spin without push back.
This denial from the Republicans, which may be better described as a delusion, also makes them continue with the same crap that brought the American people out to smack them down on November 6th. The prime example is the Republican’s attempt to use the debt ceiling to take our economy hostage again. There is a huge difference between the 2011 debt ceiling crisis and the current one. In 2011, the Republican’s goal, as spelled out by many in the party, was to make President Obama a one term president at all costs. That included damaging the economy, preventing job growth and saying anything to mislead their voters and rile them up. And it was easy to get their partisans to go along with it, because after all, it served their prime goal.
When the idea of another hostage situation with the debt ceiling started creeping into the discussion before Christmas, I couldn’t believe that the Republicans would go there again. Not only is it idiotic for all the same reasons it was in 2011, but with the election behind us and the goal of defeating the President a mere memory of a wet dream, it raises the level of stupidity even higher. The President has played his hand masterfully. He is smart enough to know that the election is behind us and that Wall Street and big business is not into losing money unless it is planned for their benefit.
Newt Gingrich was one of the first in the GOP to point out the stupidity of the tactic and he is being joined by many others on the right side of the fence. Steve Benen gives us the latest defections from the stupid caucus…
Just today, Charles Krauthammer, a prominent conservative pundit, told Republicans they “won’t get” their ransom, they’ll have to “give in” eventually, and they should “forget about forcing tax reform or entitlement cuts or anything major.” Jennifer Rubin added, “The jig is nearly up…. [T]he threat of bumping up against the debt ceiling is not realistic and hence not useful.” [...]
It would probably be an overstatement to say Republicans are already surrendering, but let’s just say they’ve taken the white flag off the shelf, even if they’re not yet ready to wave it.
That said, it also appears the congressional GOP hopes to trade one hostage for another.
Even if Republicans now seem to realize they can’t follow through on their debt-ceiling threats — they really should have thought this through beforehand — GOP policymakers still appear committed to aggressive confrontations on automatic sequestration cuts and funding levels for the government itself.
Late Breaking News! While I was at lunch, apparently a new defection came to light that makes it inevitable that the GOP is going to cave on their idiotic ploy. Sen. John Cornyn made it quite clear in an interview with the Houston Chronicle…
“We will raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to default on our debt,” Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle editorial board…. “I will tell you unequivocally, we’re not going to default,” Cornyn said Thursday.
Game, Set, Match!
Recorded on January 16, 2013, we pontificate about diversity in the President’s cabinet, Newtown & gun safety, the latest “Emo” opportunism, Lance Armstrong and the ongoing fun of watching the wheels come off the Republican party. Notice we now have an RSS Feed (upper-right column). Go on, give us a listen.