Archive for Republicans

Mar
24

“A legislature led by extremists” #WeAreNotThis

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Republicans in the swing state of North Carolina must feel heavily gerrymandering the state hasn’t given them enough of an election-year edge. Nor implementing perhaps the most radical voter restrictions in the country. In the chaos caused by the new voter ID law during last week’s record primary turnout, voters cast over 40,000 provisional ballots. The highest concentrations were on college campuses.

But there is nothing quite like a hot-button, social issue to bring out the GOP faithful and distract them from thinking about the condition of the state’s schools, or their jobs, or how screwed up their state Republican party is.

Yesterday, the GOP-controlled legislature convened a special session to overturn a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their identities. But that was just the warm-up. “The bill also prevents local governments from passing ordinances that prohibit discrimination beyond a state standard based on race, religion, color, national origin and biological sex,” according to the Charlotte Observer. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the measure last night. But not before state Senate Democrats walked out in protest.

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Mar
20

Property in Australia

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Given the animus in Washington directed at the current Democratic president, my wish list for the 2016 Democratic candidate is pretty modest. There are gubernatorial and other state races that have much more local impact than who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So I want only two things: the next two Supreme Court picks and coattails. For the first, I need the Democratic candidate to win. For the second, I need the candidate to win big.

Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann examine for Atlantic magazine how that might work out. The nominating conventions of both major parties will have a say in that. Ornstein and Mann observe that Cleveland has ordered riot gear for 2,000 in advance of the Republican convention in July:

We may shock you if we say that whatever the circumstances, if Trump does capture the Republican nomination and there is no significant third party or independent effort, he has a chance, however remote it looks now, to win. With America’s tribal politics, any nominee probably starts with a floor of 45 percent of the votes. What if there is serious economic turbulence or a Paris-style attack in the fall? Could enough voters in key states like Ohio and Michigan go to the strong man? It’s possible. And although a Trump presidency would be constrained by the elements of the American political system that have brought gridlock—separated powers, separate institutions, and centers of power—it would not be pretty.

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Mar
12

The new nullification

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George Cruikshank illustration from "Oliver Twist," 1911 edition

George Cruikshank illustration from “Oliver Twist,” 1911 edition

The M.O. of the extremist Republican Party: find the lines, cross them, dare people to push them back. Courts have. So now the GOP is going after the courts.

The new nullification expands on the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. Republicans now claim the right to preemptively void any legal decisions they might not like. Rejecting President Obama’s yet-unnamed pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, for example. On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., warned Judicial Committee colleagues that they were redrawing the lines and setting a precedent, a new normal that will cut both ways.

Senate Republicans have stonewalled Obama’s other judicial appointments. Republicans have refused to hold confirmation votes on presidential nominees to federal agencies they would like abolished. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee wants states to be able to effectively nullify Supreme Court rulings he doesn’t like. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas proposes amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would allow two-thirds of the states to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision or a federal law or regulation they don’t like. As Iowa’s 2014 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst told the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition that Congress should not pass any laws “that the states would consider nullifying.” Don’t even think about it.

What’s not the matter with Kansas?

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Mar
11

Short Attention Span Theater

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After several years of delays, Short Attention Span Theater will again resume production on Repatriation Tax Holiday 2.

Robert Reich flagged District Studios’ announcement yesterday on Facebook:

I’ve spent the last day in Washington, where Democrats are quietly gearing up to negotiate a “tax amnesty” for American-based global corporations that have parked some $2.1 trillion in untaxed profits abroad (mostly in tax havens) to avoid paying their U.S. taxes. The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent, but Obama is ready to offer 14 percent if they’ll bring the profits home; Republicans want 10 percent; some Democratic senators are willing to go even lower (Barbara Boxer is teaming up with Rand Paul to offer 6.5 percent). Corporate lobbyists are swarming over Capitol Hill, suggesting if they don’t get a great deal they might not just keep the profits abroad but even move their corporations abroad (like Pfizer is doing).
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Mar
09

Bonana fanna fo Fump

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It’s the blame game this morning as fingers point to who is to blame for the rise of Trump and Trumpism. Eric Boehlert of Hillary-friendly Media Matters examines how the media’s obsession with Donald Trump has yielded millions in free air time for the billionaire:

We seem to have entered unchartered territory where campaign coverage, at least Trump’s campaign coverage, is based on what’s popular (or what makes money for news outlets), and not based on what’s newsworthy. Casting aside decades of precedent, campaign journalism seems to have almost consciously shifted to a for-profit model.

[…]

Writing at The Observer, Ryan Holiday suggested a new paradigm is in play this campaign season:

Politicians have always sought to manipulate the public. What’s changed is that media is now not only a willing co-conspirator, they are often the driving force behind the manipulation. No longer seeing itself as responsible for reporting the truth, for getting the facts to the people, it has instead incentivized a scrum, a wild fight for attention in which anything that attracts an audience is fair game. And as long as theirs is the ring where the fight goes down, they’ll happily sell tickets to as many as will come.

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Mar
07

Pulling their fat out of the fire

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At New Yorker, David Remnick ponders the unbearable rightness of Donald Trump:

This is not a Seth Rogen movie; this is as real as mud. Having all but swept the early Republican primaries and caucuses, Trump—who re-tweets conspiracy theories and invites the affections of white-supremacist groups, and has established himself as the adept inheritor of a long tradition of nativism, discrimination, and authoritarianism—is getting ever closer to becoming the nominee of what Republicans like to call “the party of Abraham Lincoln.” No American demagogue––not Huey Long, not Joseph McCarthy, not George Wallace––has ever achieved such proximity to national power.

With opening day for major league baseball a month away, the Stop Trump effort is in full a-swing-and-a-miss mode, as the Republican National Committee fends off questions about a brokered convention:
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Mar
04

Of penises and potties

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Prior to Donald Trump boasting to allies and enemies alike last night about the size of his penis, this dropped into the in-box from the Speaker of the House of (what Charlie Pierce calls) the newly insane state of North Carolina: Read More→

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Mar
02

The GOP’s reckoning

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"What does not kill me, makes me stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche (By Hartmann, Basel. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

“What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
(By Hartmann, Basel. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Much digital ink has been spread about how Republicans created Donald Trump and now are paying the price for it. But Trump is not the only nemesis they helped create.

First, writing yesterday from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Charlie Pierce spoke of the Super Tuesday reckoning facing the Republican party:

The facts are as stark as the slopes of Lookout Mountain in the early morning light. It is a consummation devoutly to be wished, especially by those of us who see the Republicans as having been cruising for this particular bruising ever since it so greedily ate the monkeybrains in the 1980s. But, from the people who make their living at being Republicans, we are seeing the kind of existential panic that you only see once or twice in a century. It’s Watership Down, with Super PACs and Mitch McConnell.

Indeed, this morning’s online headline at the Washington Post described it as a “nightmarish Super Tuesday” for the GOP establishment. Trump won seven of the states in play. Hillary Clinton also won seven Super Tuesday states.

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Mar
01

A certain moral flexibility

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Nick Naylor (lobbyist for the Academy of Tobacco Studies): My job requires a certain… moral flexibility.

Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Martin Blank (contract killer): When I left, I joined the Army, and when I took the service exam, my psych profile fit a certain… “moral flexibility” would be the best way to describe it. I was loaned out to a CIA-sponsored program – it’s called “mechanical operations” – and we sort of found each other.
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Perhaps it is a class thing. We already know the rich live by a different set of rules from the hoi polloi. One fascinating thing about moralizing by many conservatives is their flexibility about accepting people (among their tribe) who bend the rules and get away with it. If an opponent does it, that’s wrong. If they do it – say, waterboarding or carpet bombing – well, you can’t make an omelet, etc., etc. Beating the system or rigging the game in one’s favor is a sign of strength. Cleverness and guile are the marks of a leader.

So the latest from BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith should have no impact whatsoever on Donald Trump:

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Feb
25

“I was misinformed”

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Interesting conversation last night on All In with Chris Hayes. Hayes spoke with Donald Trump voters in Las Vegas during this week’s caucuses. Supporters see Trump as aggressive, strong, and bold, and they like what they see. Ted Cruz? He cheated. Marco Rubio is an “establishment shill.”

Ideology, class, etc., according to one researcher Hayes cited, has “no statistical bearing” on support for Trump, but rather an inclination towards authoritarianism. In the segment with Jess McIntosh (Emily’s List), Sam Seder (Majority Report), and Nick Confessore (New York Times), Hayes’guests noted that Trump voters tend to compartmentalize Trump the performer from Trump the prospective president. They look past Trump’s bombast, the cursing and slurs and see someone genuine, as suggested by one woman who had voted for Obama twice. “I go past it,” she said. She doesn’t take the wild statements seriously. She could be in for a big surprise.

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