Archive for Republicans


Truth is no longer an American value

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As a kid, I watched Superman on TV in black and white fighting his never-ending battle for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” All three have since fallen out of fashion. Carly the Fabulist’s tales of Planned Parenthood reminded us just how far we have fallen. Her “willingness to unrepentantly and repeatedly” look into the camera and lie to our faces recalls Dick Cheney’s talent for that, Digby reminded this week at Salon.

Digby references a post (in part about Mitt Romney) by Rick Perlstein that I want to revisit. While his books might bear pictures of presidents to please the marketers, Perlstein writes, he is much more interested in how “both the rank-and-file voters and the governing elites of a major American political party chose as their standardbearer a pathological liar. What does that reveal about them?”

Indeed. Direct-mail maven Richard Viguerie is one of his Perlstein’s touchstones for seeing into the conservative mind. Perlstein’s insights also come in part from examining the snake-oil ads in conservative publications such as Human Events and Townhall, as well as the more plebian Newsmax. My viewport is the conservative pass-it-on spams that land in my in-box. I collect them. I lost count somewhere around 200.

Perlstein contrasts the ubiquitous “get rich quick” appeals in these publications to one he noticed in the liberal The American Prospect for donations to help starving children in the Third World. I contrast them with the lack of appeals found in pass-it-on spam. They are lies, smears, distortions, propaganda — passed along dutifully by the parents who warned us about communist propaganda as kids:

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When they say “efficiency,” watch your back

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(background on the video posted earlier)

When you start hearing “efficiency” used around the office, watch your back and update your resume. It’s like “shareholder value” that way. When Republicans in government start using “efficiency,” same difference.

On Election Day 2014 while Democrats across the country were getting clobbered, there were a couple of bright spots in North Carolina (believe it or not). Democrats picked up a net 3 seats in the state legislature, including sending home an ALEC board member. But in a sweep election where Republicans should have won it all, Democrats won 3 of 3 contested state Supreme Court seats and 2 of 3 contested Appeals Court races. Republicans couldn’t have that. The GOP-controlled legislature responded in 2015 by changing the way judges are elected.

It was just one of many tweaks they have made to change how elections run. Some of them are not so obvious. At the Daily Kos Connects Asheville Conference last weekend, DocDawg, aka Bill Busa, presented findings on how Boards of Elections across the state began “to reshuffle the polling places in the name of ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost-savings’.” Busa’s presentation last Saturday revealed how elimination of early voting places disproportionately increased the distance black voters have to travel to the polls.

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Bill Busa Speaks to DailyKos Connects Asheville

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Did He Mis-Speaker?

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Your next Speaker of the House, ladies and gentlemen.

Either McCarthy writes this stuff himself, or he hired someone this illiterate to write it for him and he doesn’t know the difference.

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Wingnut DARPA

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North Carolina legislators were cooking up some particularly noxious potions yesterday here in one of Charlie Pierce’s Laboratories of Democracy. Pay attention. North Carolina has become wingnut DARPA for this stuff.

The NC state legislature adjourned for the year about the time I got up to write this. Twitter and email lit up last night after all the turds they’d kept plugged up in the legislative pipeline until the very last all spewed out into public view at once. Much like the infamous “motorcycle vagina” bill of 2013, some of the worst appeared as surprise revisions to other bills.

Ironically, a colleague yesterday noticed that sometime after September 2012 our local GOP website had quietly removed its “Principles” page from its website. They included “I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.” Well, yesterday the “closest to the people” people in the state capitol attempted to prevent local governments in North Carolina from doing anything remotely progressive:
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Boehner wants to “clean the barn up” before leaving

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Outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner called some congressional colleagues “false prophets” for raising unrealistic expectations about what could be accomplished during recent sessions:

“Absolutely, they’re unrealistic!” he exclaimed. “You know the Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there, y’know, spreading noise about how much can get done. I mean this whole idea about shutting down government to get rid of Obamacare in 2013 — I mean, this plan never had a chance.”

Asked if Cruz was one of the “false prophets,” Boehner smirked and became coy, saying, “I’ll refer you to a remark I made at a fundraiser in August, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado,” where the GOP leader called the Texas senator a “jackass.”

Boehner was vague about just what he means to do with the weeks he has left:

The outgoing speaker pledged to try to “get as much finished as possible” before he steps down. “I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” Boehner said. “So I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets here.”

Having taken a swipe at one Senate jackass, one wonders what “clean the barn” might mean for false prophets in the House.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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Burning down the House

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The Cardigans – Burning Down The House (feat. Tom Jones) (1999)

It is my habit to refer to the extremists as the T-party (not tea party or Tea Party), but I never explained why. It comes from the Sam Neill line from Jurassic Park.

Dr. Alan Grant: “T-Rex doesn’t want to be fed. He wants to hunt.

In John Boehner, T-party just claimed another kill. If Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is any indication, T-party is still hungry:

“That’s one down, that’s 434 more to go,” said Jindal, a former congressman. “Folks, it is time to fire everybody in D.C.”

Frank Bruni comments on John Boehner’s conflict with his “pathologically self-destructive party” over his reluctance to force another government shutdown has led to his demise as Speaker of the House:

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Taint that a shame

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Several postmortem analyses this morning on the Great Whitebread Hope’s presidential ambitions (emphasis mine):

Short of support and cash, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, saying he had been “called to lead by helping to clear the field,” announced Monday that he was suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Wow. On his way off the national stage and he comes up with a euphemism worthy of a Mike Huckabee.

The Guardian has this:

With a reputation for selling ruthless conservatism to traditionally Democratic voters, Walker was leading the primary race not just in Iowa but in national polling too, easily upstaging the awkward-looking Jeb Bush and Donald Trump’s ominous security guards.

But by the time Walker took the reluctant decision to suspend his campaign on Monday – just 71 days after its formal launch – the dream of this tough new breed of purple state Republicanism lay in tatters.

Walker’s campaign didn’t even last long enough for Walker to file a single federal election commission (FEC) report, the Guardian notes. His human bobblehead announcement speech was perhaps a portent that there was never enough there for Walker to go the distance.

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You sues, you lose

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Republicans lost a major foreign policy fight yesterday when Democrats in the Senate filibustered a resolution to disapprove President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Iran. Over in the Animal House, Speaker John Boehner stood up and declared that the situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part: Frivolous lawsuit!

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised Thursday that House Republicans will “use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow and delay this agreement from being fully implemented” up to and including suing President Obama to keep him from enforcing the agreement.

Maybe someone else is keeping better count, but that would make at least three times Boehner has gone to the judicial bench after being humiliated in the Congress. The Washington Post report continues:

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Don’t victimize me, bro

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from Pinterest

Plenty of victimhood going around on this Labor Day.

“Being a conservative is all about grievances,” LOLGOP writes at Electablog. That is why Donald Trump’s complaints about Hugh Hewitt’s gotcha questions, rather than hurting him, play right into the sentiments of his base:

To be a conservative enduring the regime of Barack Obama and facing the end of the end of white Americans making up the majority of population is to be a person who is justifiably pissed at everything.

Jonah Goldberg is pissed at the Trump “cargo cult” masquerading as conservatism. He’s got a list of grievances about how Trump represents “the corrupting of conservatives.” The movement isn’t about politicians or even about self-interest. It is about “shaping a conservative electorate that lines up the incentives so that politicians define their self-interest in a conservative way.”

Except the conservative movement has suckered shaped the electorate for decades by feeding its base a steady diet of bluster and bullshit (as Paul Krugman again points out this morning). It’s what the base has been taught to like. It’s what they’ve been taught to want. Trump is just better at delivering it than mainstream conservatives (if that term has any meaning left).

By riding instead of manipulating public opinion like a proper conservative, Trump makes a mockery of conservatism. Goldberg complains: Trump the populist is running on popularity rather than principle; the megalomaniac has no character; he doesn’t care enough about the country to even do his homework, as if homework is for losers.

In this, Trump’s cargo cult seems to have embraced the supposed attitude towards education among “inner city” youth that conservatives have condemned for years. In this, conservatives are on track to elect a president in the mold of the famous pool hustler, Minnesota Fats. “Practice is for suckers.” “Modesty is for suckers.” “Keeping score is for suckers.” Feeling pressure? “Pressure’s for suckers.”

Movement conservatives have long capitalized on low-information voters to get what they want. Matt Taibbi looks at how that is coming back to bite them:

Republicans won middle American votes for years by taking advantage of the fact that their voters didn’t know the difference between an elitist and the actual elite, between a snob and an oligarch. They made sure their voters’ idea of an elitist was Sean Penn hanging out with Hugo Chavez, instead of a Wall Street bank financing the construction of Chinese factories.

Trump similarly is scoring points with voters who don’t know the difference between feeling sorry for themselves and actually being victims. We live in a society that is changing for a lot of reasons, and some of those changes feel annoying to certain kinds of people, particularly older white folks who don’t like language-policing and other aspects of political correctness.

The 2016 election may be, at least for conservatives, Taibbi writes, a “referendum on white victimhood.” Well, there are plenty of victims to go around.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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