Archive for Republicans
Saw this yesterday, but Susie beat me to it. NJ Democrat, Rep. Bill Pascrell :
Susie says, “I have a favorite T-shirt that says, “I’m not angry, I’m from Philly.” I bought it because people always seem to think I’m being hostile when I’m just a little more, um, direct than most people. (If I ever do go ballistic, you’ll know.)”
Pascrell’s target in this “direct” exchange is former interim U.S. attorney and T-party candidate, Rep. Tim Griffin (R – Arkansas), who resigned his earlier job “a day after the BBC broadcast linking him to illegal ‘voter caging.’” Griffin has just announced he will not seek another term so he can spend more time with the family, as they say in Washington.
But perhaps Griffin will be remembered as he didn’t want to be—for the 2004 “voter caging” story. In 2004 the Bush-Cheney campaign and RNC sent mail to voters’ addresses to check whether those addresses were current. If the mail bounced back, the names were “caged,” and the party had reason to challenge the ballots of these voters if they showed up. In 2004, while at the RNC, Griffin received spreadsheets of “caged voters”—a fact that came up during his confirmation process when he was seeking to become a U.S. attorney. Greg Palast, the muckraking journalist who had originally reported the story, also argued that the voters being targeted were disproportinately nonwhite. That sort of discrimination would have been illegal.
NC Attorney General Roy Cooper goes national against the destructiveness of Republican rule in the state. This morning in the Huffington Post, Cooper writes,
For the first time since Reconstruction, North Carolina has a General Assembly and governorship controlled by the extreme factions of the Republican Party, and their legislative super majority means their power is unchecked. In ten short months, they have set out to deliberately and systematically undo fifty years of progress. It’s as if the Tea Party created its own playground of extremist fantasies.
Among the nonsensical economic policies in a state still struggling to recover, Gov. Pat McCrory’s rejecting Obamacare-related Medicaid funding “which North Carolina is paying for regardless,” and the jobs and billions it would add to the state.
It’s been a rough ten months and the wrecking crew is not done yet.
Denialism is the go-to strategy for Republicans these days. If you confront a problem where facts are not on your side, simply deny the facts. Examples abound but one of my favorites was UnSkewedPolls.com. Polls showing President Obama ahead of Mitt Romney had to be wrong, or skewed. So Dean Chambers did some “analysis” and came up with a different set of “facts”. On Election night, the shock and awe on Republican faces including the candidate himself told the story of just how many people believed the “un”skewed polls.
Recent events have the Republicans butting up against a fact they just can’t live with. If we don’t fund the government and let it borrow more money we will be unable to pay our obligations which will trigger a default. This will have a chilling effect in world capital markets and would probably plunge us into a recession worse than the one we just went through. But none of this is a problem if you just don’t believe it’s true. Until it is true. President Romney can tell you how it works.
Now we have the Treasury Truthers.
“There’s always revenue coming into the Treasury, certainly enough revenue to pay interest,” said Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. “Democrats have a different definition of ‘default’ than what we understand it to be. What I hear from them is, ‘If you’re not paying everything on time that’s a default.’ And that’s not the traditionally understood definition.”
Representative Mick Mulvaney, R-South Carolina:
“We’re not going to default; there is no default,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. “There’s an [Office of Management and Budget] directive from the 1980s, the last time we got fairly close to not raising the debt ceiling, that clearly lays out the process by which the Treasury secretary prioritizes interest payments. Tim Geithner understood that, because the last weekend in July of 2011 he was in New York City telling the primary dealers that we were not going to default on our debt.”
“I’m not going to vote for the so-called clean debt ceiling where we just give the president a blank check. I will not vote for that.”
“So, we are not going to default on the public debt. But that doesn’t mean that we have to pay every bill the day it comes in.”
“I will hear language like, ‘Well, we are heading toward the debt ceiling and you are going to default.’ Anyone that says that is looking you in the eyes and lying to you, either that or they don’t own a calculator,” Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said in a House debate Friday.
“I don’t think the credit of the United States is going to be collapsed. I think that all this talk about a default has been a lot of… false demagoguery. We have plenty of money coming in to service the debt.”
“I think, personally, [not raising the debt ceiling] would bring stability to the world markets.”
The Barton quote is unsurprisingly a double whammy. Raising the debt limit doesn’t give the President a blank check. Instead it allows the government to operate at the level authorized by Congress. Of course, this is from the guy who apologized to BP after the Gulf spill.
Matt Yglesias makes a good point.
Stepping back a little, I’d also note that House Republicans can’t have it both ways here. Either the debt ceiling is a major leverage point to extract concessions from the president, or else it’s no big deal. If it’s no big deal, there’s no leverage. If there’s leverage, then it’s because failing to raise the debt ceiling would be very damaging.
A couple days ago, one of our regular readers, Hazelite, observed (indirectly) the lack of people here grousing about Rep. Mark Meadows’ voting record. More on that in a minute.
Many years back, I was involved with a group in forming a church. These were friends I’d known since college. We had church together, went camping, played basketball, went out to eat, and had for some years. Eventually, those with kids and jobs wanted to get a tax break on their contributions. We decided to formally apply to the IRS.
When the IRS paperwork came, we got hung up on writing a formal statement of faith. We’d never had one or needed one before. We were just us, friends, and never gave it much thought. Now all the differences we’d never noticed came out. This guy over here was raised Catholic, became a Quaker, and wanted a statement about Mary and the virgin birth. Those raised Protestants were uncomfortable with that and wanted different beliefs emphasized. It got dicey, but eventually we got through it. As long as we’d stayed out of the weeds, we got along fine. When we started arguing about the footnotes, not so much.
One thing the NAACP-led Forward Together/Moral Monday movement in North Carolina has done well is to keep its members working at the executive summary level of their politics and beliefs. Including diverse groups, but not focusing on the particulars. Rev. Barber and Moral Monday stick to the broad issues member sub-groups agree on, lest the group lose focus and disintegrate into factions angling for their own group’s particular interests. This is Big Picture politics. When we work together, we all win and we all have a better shot at getting what we want.
The poison pills are piling up in Washington. Now a “conscience clause” has been added to the Continuing Resolution:
To the laundry list of demands made by House Republicans fighting health care reform, with the shutdown of the government and default on the national debt in the balance, add this last-minute item: limiting contraceptive coverage.
Multiple sources are reporting that Republicans have added language to the budget bill before the House that would allow employers and insurers to opt out of preventative care for women if the employer or insurer finds that care objectionable on moral or religious grounds. Obamacare rules require all insurers and employers except for religious nonprofit organizations to offer contraceptive coverage. This language would remove the contraceptive coverage requirement.
On the surface, this appears to be just a bone thrown to the religious right among other ransom demands in a bill that will go nowhere. It is. But the impulse behind these sorts of rules isn’t just religion. It’s about power.
[h/t John Aravosis]
The Republican Party is acting out one of those dreary murder ballads with America. You know the ones, where the rejected suitor declares, “If I can’t have you, then no one can!” Then he murders the woman to put her out of his misery.
America, how we loved ye!
The Republican-led U.S. House voted last week to throw 4 million Americans off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), largely on party lines. Then it voted 230-to-189 to shut down the government if Obamcare isn’t defunded. Then Republicans threw a party.
At the National Review, Henry Olsen threw up his hands:
The conservative war on food stamps is the most baffling political move of the year. Conservatives have suffered for years from the stereotype that they are heartless Scrooge McDucks more concerned with our money than other people’s lives. Yet in this case, conservatives make the taking of food from the mouths of the genuinely hungry a top priority. What gives? And why are conservatives overlooking a far more egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars in the farm bill? [Emphasis by Jonathan Chait]
“It’s not baffling,” writes Chait, nor a stereotype. “Indeed, it’s the only analysis that persuasively explains the facts.”
On that note, a recent Facebook posting linked to yet another article attempting to explain how poor, conservative, white voters can vote Republican against their best interests. It’s a common complaint on the left and bad messaging. As if liberals seriously want Americans to vote what’s best for No. 1.
Conservative voters don’t vote against their best interests anyway. Because they don’t vote their interests. They vote their identities. (Lakoff’s Second Law.) The problem for the left is that many poor, white, red-state voters don’t identify with Democrats.
There are plenty of reasons why on the Democratic side of the aisle, many rooted in social rather than economic issues. Still, it baffles the liberal mind that struggling red-state voters don’t see how the Republican Party and its policies are screwing them and destroying the American middle class. Besides, how can working-class voters possibly identify more with plutocrats and corporate interests?
Perhaps because at heart some are simply royalists?
Historian Robert Calhoon explained the proportions of loyalists and rebels during the American Revolution: “Historians’ best estimates put the proportion of adult white male loyalists somewhere between 15 and 20 percent.” As many as 500,000 loyalists among a population of 2.5 million colonists. They were particularly numerous in the South.
More militant tea party types promote the idea popularized by Mike Vanderboegh that only three percent of colonists actually fought against British tyranny. This makes self-styled patriots feel special. They even have Three Percenter arm patches and t-shirts to display along with their AR-15s.
Yet there are signs in the tea party movement that the royalists are still with us – both on the streets and in our legislatures.
Ironically, the Tea Party Patriots and other corporate-sponsored tea party groups take their name from a famous act of vandalism against the assets of the largest corporation of its day. The British East India Company ran whole British colonies and raised its own troops. It was so in bed with Parliament that it got tax subsidies that allowed the East India Company to undercut the price smugglers of Dutch tea offered to American colonists. The Tea Act protected the East India Company monopoly and Parliament’s investments. This ticked off smugglers and, combined with a nifty anti-tax slogan, colonists too. It resulted in a memorable destruction of company property.
Now try to imagine the contemporary tea party participating in anything like that against the East India Company’s modern-day equivalents. Nouveau tea party members carry signs like, “Got a job? Thank a rich person.” They suggest that only landowners should get to vote. They advocate the elimination of corporate taxes. Like their East India Company forebears, today’s elites have raised their own army – no oath of fealty needed. Among its members you’ll find some of the staunchest defenders of a business model crafted to shield Wall Street barons and corporate princes from personal responsibility for their business dealings. Because personal responsibility is for little people, not financial royalty.
For all their patriotic bluster, the tea party dresses like colonists and acts like royalists. They’re more Tory than tea party. And they vote that way.
Historians estimate that perhaps only 20 percent of the King’s loyal supporters emigrated from the United States after the British lost the war. The rest stayed.
Two hundred-plus years later, their children are still with us. They have found a home in the Republican Party. It’s where corporations can order custom-tailored legislation and where a tradesman can dream that if he emulates his betters – or wins the lottery – he might find acceptance among them. Or failing that, maybe touch the hem of their garments as they pass. (Just last week. Pope Francis warned about the worship of money.)
Conservatives don’t vote against their best interests. They vote their identities, and some identify most with moneyed royalty. Perhaps that’s not so baffling.
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
[The following is satire enhanced for the humor-impaired.]
This week former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a CEO Forum in Raleigh that North Carolina’s sweeping election law changes would push away blocks of voters that Republicans should instead be wooing.
“What has come out of the legislature is that fraud is widespread and undetected,” Powell said. “How is fraud widespread if it’s undetected? How can it be undetected if it’s widespread?”
How? Hans Von Spakovsky, the GOP’s point man on spreading rumors about widespread voter fraud, knows how, even if he himself cannot say how big a problem it really is.
“It is impossible to answer,” Spakovsky told the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. “We don’t have the tools in place.”
“It’s amazing to me how people who are pouring time and money and energy into trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act sure haven’t put that kind of energy into trying to improve the health of Kentuckians. And think of the decades that they have had to make some kind of difference.” — Kentucky Democrat, Gov. Steve Beshear
The place was the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast, and the speech caught Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul off guard, according to the National Journal. [Emphasis mine.]
Beshear’s advocacy … was striking in its intensity and in how personally he approached the issue, picking up on the idea that many people who don’t have health insurance are embarrassed by that and don’t talk about it.
The governor compared health insurance to “the safety net of crop insurance” and said farmers need both. He said 640,000 Kentuckians—15 percent of the state—don’t have health insurance and “trust me, you know many of those 640,000 people. You’re friends with them. You’re probably related to them. Some may be your sons and daughters. You go to church with them. Shop with them. Help them harvest their fields. Sit in the stands with them as you watch your kids play football or basketball or ride a horse in competition. Heck, you may even be one of them.”