I’m Taking My Ball and Going Home!

Steve Benen over at the Washington Monthly has a great post about the idiotic tactics the Republicans have been using since President Obama took office. It’s good stuff, here is a couple of pieces of it. I highly recommend you go check it out.

Long-time readers may recall a discussion we had back in December, about the quality of the debate over health care reform. It was obvious at the time that the meaningful, interesting disputes weren’t between conservatives and liberals, but between liberals and other liberals.It’s not that the right remained silent; it’s that they offered arguments that no serious person could find credible. Consider, just off the top of your head, the most prominent concerns raised by opponents of the Affordable Care Act. What comes to mind? “Death panels.” “Socialism.” “Government takeover.”

It was the biggest domestic policy fight in a generation, but most of the policy debate was spent debunking transparent, child-like nonsense. The left approached the debate with vibrancy, energy, and seriousness. The right thought it was fascinating to talk about the number of pages in the legislation.

Making matters worse, the quality of the discourse on health care wasn’t especially unusual. We endured a mind-numbing debate over economic recovery efforts because Republicans weren’t prepared for a serious argument. We can’t discuss Wall Street reform because Republicans keep saying “bailout” for no reason. We can’t discuss a climate bill because Republicans reflexively reject the science.

I think it is very much a scorched earth tactic. Prove that politicians can’t do anything right so they sweep the bums out….which is really the only hope the party of “hell no” has. It could very well work with the media being such willing participants in the process. Steve Benen links to Marc Ambinder, who is excerpted below

I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don’t exist — serious Republicans — but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.

It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing. The obsession with ACORN, Climategate, death panels, the militarization of rhetoric, Saul Alinsky, Chicago-style politics, that TAXPAYERS will fund the bailout of banks — these aren’t meaningful or interesting or even relevant things to focus on. (The banks will fund their own bailouts.)

I have to imagine that old politicians on the right have to be cringing at what has happened to their party. They’ve been hijacked by the wackos…Rush, Glenn, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell….well, I guess they are all pretty much wackos. It’s a new day in American politics, not a good day though…the place is on fire!

Making Room in Hell for Republicans!

Word on the street is that Satan has had to make a big capital investment in Hell to make room for all the Republicans who are heading straight there. Bechtel and Haliburton both have competitive bids in on the project. It’s the largest expansion of Hell since the Joe McCarthy period.  Satan is salivating at all the new business coming out of the Republican Party and the Tea Party. It’s mostly the lies that are bringing in the new biz. And these aren’t little white lies, these are big whopping lies….the kind that land you in the eternal fires of hell. The kind that are the exact opposite of the truth, not just an exaggeration or a slant, oh no, these are manufactured lies courtesy of Frankie Luntz.

Frank has been working for Satan, he’s their best recruiter down there. They have monuments to him at the gates, right near the Fox News Theatre where they run Glenn Beck on a loop. On the way in, Rush hands out Oxycontin to the new arrivals, pointing them towards the Excellence In Bullshit (EIB) building, which is where they hold the worship services now hosted by Jerry Falwell, the new pastor.

Sales of Blond Wigs Soar In Arizona!

How crazy it is that American citizens have to carry their papers with them at all times and are considered guilty until proven innocent – based on how they look? What’s wrong with that picture? The new law just signed in Arizona is basically a racial profiling law, nothing but. It’s as Booman calls itThe Latino Harassment Act of 2010“.  And it does all boil down to how they look. The whole “reasonable suspicion” bullshit, what the hell else could that be – besides how they look? Waving a Mexican flag around? More than 4 darker skinned people in any given vehicle? Maybe it’s anyone speaking Spanish in public, that’s pretty suspicious. The craziness of this law crystallized for me when I saw Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico saying how he could very well be hassled the next time he travels to Arizona.

It’s curious that some of the biggest supporters of this new law are on the right-wing. Now, I thought the right wingers were all about civil liberties, running around screaming about losing freedom and carrying misspelled signs. What is different between those people and the ones who are gathering today in cities across Arizona? It’s basically a pigment issue. The pasty white people carrying the misspelled signs aren’t too concerned about the folks gathering in Arizona who actually just lost some of their liberties. I don’t think we’re going to see the teabaggers jump on FreedomWorks buses, heading off to Arizona anytime soon. What do you think?

As I was listening to a piece on NPR’s “On Point” (I’m one of those latte’ sipping liberals, you know? Not a fan of arugula though!)…but as I was listening, it dawned on me that blond wig sales and skin bleaching could be lucrative businesses in Arizona – with this new law. American citizens having to wear disguises so they don’t get hassled, is it just me or is that really crazy? And all the Hispanics who are trying to get into the country are probably digging it too, I imagine along the border in Mexico, salons are springing up already. Could there ever be a more glaring example of a bad solution to a big problem. This is a classic case of overreaction and bigotry guiding policy.

Now even though I AM an extreme liberal, my thoughts on immigration are probably considered moderate or even conservative to some on the left. That law that just passed is wrong, it is a prescription for racial profiling and that is not a price we can pay to stop the flow across our borders.

I am not one of the “turn your head the other way” liberals who thinks we should just allow illegal crossings to happen. I’ve never been to Mexico, but I have been to Canada several times, being a “Michigander” and whenever I’ve crossed the border, I’ve appreciated that border, gone through customs and respected the fact that they want to control who comes into their country. Why should it be any different coming into America, we as a country should be able to control who comes into our country. And that is the point, controlling the borders. If we are going to have laws about immigration, we should do what needs to be done to enforce the laws. It isn’t right to turn your head the other way when a farmer hires a non citizen or a restaurant owner or whatever. Laws are laws, right? The whole idea that we enforce some laws but not others just doesn’t pass the smell test to me.

For those already in our country, there should be a process for them to apply for citizenship, but that doesn’t mean they all get in automatically. It really isn’t fair to those people who are going through the legal process to come here. I have a friend from China who has been trying to become a citizen legally, it’s a big hassle. Nobody likes it when they are standing in line and someone cuts in front of them. So in my opinion, the compromise and solution to the immigration problem really has to start at the borders. We have to seal them up somehow so that legal immigration becomes the way to migrate here. That may mean increasing the size of ICE or creating a new department that is designed from the ground up, with logical, streamlined procedures for approving applications. It would also make a lot of sense to create a model for how many people we allow in per year and structures for changing that based on economic trends. The anger by unemployed citizens who see non-citizens, working jobs that they would do, is understandable. It goes to that whole idea of “why have laws if you aren’t going to enforce them?”

I’m certainly glad we are having this debate now, with President Obama and a Democratic controlled congress. But it isn’t going to be pretty, if you think we’ve seen racism and bigotry in the last year and a half, just wait till the LouDobbsians mobilize.

A Sea of Republican Lies!

One of the continuing lies from the Republicans and Teabaggers is that President Obama bailed out the banks. Uh, TARP was passed on October 3, 2008 and signed by President Bush. According to my memory, President Obama wasn’t even elected until November 4, 2008. The Republicans and their lap-dog media just continues to imply that President Obama is responsible for the bailout. I’d bet 95% of the teabaggers believe that wholeheartedly. No surprise there though, they ARE more educated and wealthier, right?

Do you suppose these folks know that it was George W. Bush who passed the TARP bill? I don’t think so. The Republicans have become very good at spreading lies and misinformation and it’s hard for us liberals to keep up with shooting them down. There is so much of it out there, it’s no wonder that the American people are so confused over what is real and what is a product of Frank Luntz’s crafty word games. I know I’m trying to do my part in shining a light on this bullshit.

Still Fixing Bush’s Economic Nightmare!

Continuing with the poll theme, a new one out says 75% of the “American People” still blame Bush for the bad economy. From Raw Story

A new Gallup poll conducted March 26-28 shows that 75% of Americans surveyed still place most of the blame for the current economy on former President George W. Bush…

…Gallup also notes that “Americans in July 2009 clearly recognized that the nation’s economic problems preceded Obama’s term; at that time, close to half of Republicans (43%) — in addition to most independents (63%) and nearly all Democrats (92%) — believed Obama bore little or no responsibility for them.” While those figures have begun to decline, clearly Bush still takes much more of the blame for the current state of the economy.

It sure isn’t going to last very long and the numbers are already creeping up for Obama when it comes to blame. I have confidence that President Obama’s policies will have a positive effect on the economy and jobs so he will begin getting credit instead of blame pretty soon.

President Obama Has Strong Support!

If you have read my rantings before you know how I feel about polls, they are abused by the media and politicians alike. There are “push” polls that serve the purpose of propagandizing, there are poorly worded questions within polls that elicit inaccurate responses, there are poorly ordered questions which affect the results. An example of this would be asking a series of questions that set a tone that has an effect on the rest of them…like loading a question with “do you think the government should run your health care?” The other major abuse of polls is how the results are misinterpreted by everyone, they then become a spin tool that attempts to influence peoples opinions producing the bandwagon effect.

The Daily Kos conducts polls in a responsible way, go here if you want to know why their methodology is so much better than some others. Today, the DKos poll has President Obama at 53 favorable 42 unfavorable. Now considering that he won the election with 53% of the vote you would think that the interpretation would be that he’s maintaining his support, but is that the way the media in general is portraying his presidency? Not from what I’ve seen. They tend to ignore that result and point to others like “Right direction, Wrong direction” type questions.  Currently, DKos has the country thinking  58% wrong track, 38% right track. Now pundits want to lay that all on President Obama’s doorstep, but I see it much differently. I believe a lot of that 58% are people that don’t like the gridlock in congress, caused primarily by Republicans. They probably see us on the wrong track because the two parties are on completely different tracks. A large percentage of the population really wants them to get along, come to common ground to solve problems. Putting the blame for those numbers solely on Obama is wrong. Another example of this is the opposition to the health care bill in many polls. That opposition is a combination of people who don’t want it at all and those that think it should be stronger, like single payer or a public option. Combining the two and saying, “the American people don’t want this bill” is just plain fucking wrong. Those who are for a stronger bill want a STRONGER bill, not no bill at all. When pollsters have actually teased out those numbers, it gets a much different result.

The other common meme going around surrounding polls is the idea that because President Obama was so high in the polls initially, that is the new benchmark for his popularity. That’s bullshit too. Initially, the American people rally around a new president, their patriotism plays into it and especially with our first black president, I think their was a lot of pride even with conservatives that America has come this far. That doesn’t mean that those people all of a sudden agree with him on everything, like the brain dead pundits want us to believe. It is possible to support your president but not agree with him. Look at Bush’s support right after 9/11.  It’s so much more fun for the media to put someone on a pedestal and then knock them off it. This is what they have been doing to President Obama with this artificial benchmark they created.

So even though the pundits continue to beat that drum about Obama not being popular, the numbers really don’t say that and in fact, seem to say the opposite of that. I firmly believe that once his policies begin to settle in and take effect, his popularity will steadily climb and I’m sure all those wuss democrats will jump back on the Obama bandwagon and ride it to victory in November.

Supreme Legal Minds!

I hope that Christina Bellantoni at TPM is right and President Obama is considering even judges that lean to the left to replace Justice Stevens. Her story claims that the White House knows that whoever they pick, the Repugs will fight it as if it’s the end of the freakin world….no matter who it is. So why not pick someone who will help swing the pendulum back to the left? From her article….

“It doesn’t matter who he chooses, there is going to be a big ‘ol fight over it. So he doesn’t have to get sidetracked by those sorts of concerns,” the official told me. The GOP has attempted to obstruct “anything of consequence” put forth by the Obama administration since he took office, the official said. “The president is making this decision with a pretty clear view that whoever he chooses is going to provoke a strong reaction on the right,” the official added.

I hope that this thinking continues within the White House on other issues too. Glenn Greenwald gives a passionate pitch for Diane Wood and I have to admit, I like how she thinks. She was courageous and spoke out about civil liberties in 2003 when the Bush administration was just beginning it’s assault on our long standing American values and LAWS. This is from Glenn’s piece

But the starting point for seeing why Wood is such a superior alternative — what first convinced me — is the University of Chicago Law Review article she wrote in early 2003, entitled The Rule of Law in Times of Stress.  This courageous analysis was designed to warn the nation about the profound threats posed to the rule of law and the Constitution by excesses in the War on Terrorism, but also more broadly to set forth her general view of the proper role of the Supreme Court when rights are being assaulted and individuals from marginalized groups are being mistreated.  By itself, this article says more than I ever could about why she is really the ideal replacement for Justice Stevens, using every standard which progressives have always claimed to embrace regarding their views of the Court.

I recommend you go read Glenn’s piece, it’s quite long but very good. Here is a piece of Diane Woods writing, lifted from Glenn’s piece.

Regardless of who he picks, it will be a great day in America when it happens.