Great article by Bruce Bartlett in the American Conservative about how the GOP lost its mind and, consequently, elections. But I think he misses a connection.
At one point, Bartlett says this about Obama (which I agree with 100%):
The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.
And then, later on, he also says this:
It is now widely understood that the nation may be center-left after all, not center-right as conservatives thought.
This is probably true too, but the point that I think Bartlett should have made more explicit is that the problem is not that Republicans misjudged where the American people are on the political spectrum, so much as where the political spectrum is in the first place. Even if America is a center-right country as Republicans love to say, the center-right is where Obama and the Democrats are, not where the Republicans are. Even by their own assessment of the electorate, their political positioning is terrible – and it only makes sense if you define “center-right” as somewhere to the right of Dick Cheney.
So the good news is that between the GOP’s extremism and America’s demographic trends (which Bartlett also talks about), the Republicans may be dooming themselves to irrelevance for a long time to come. Of course, the bad news is that most Democrats might as well be Republicans too.
So yeah, the Democrats had a pretty good election on Tuesday: Electoral vote landslide for Obama, wins for progressives like Liz Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown and Alan Grayson, and losses for misogynistic Tea Party buffoons like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Allen West and Joe Walsh. Better yet, as the minority and youth votes grow, it looks like these kinds of results could be the new normal.
Isolated pockets of progressivism notwithstanding, today’s Democrats as a whole are still just as corporate-owned as the Republicans, they’re just subtle enough to frame their sellouts as “pragmatism” and “compromise”. Worse yet, it looks like Obama and the Democrats are poised to Grandly Bargain awaySocial Security and Medicare, the crown jewels of the liberals and progressives who just swept them back into office. So you’ll forgive me if I’m less than excited about Democrats retaining control of the White House and Senate when they’re committed to delivering Republican policy outcomes.
Demographics make the GOP irrelevant, Democrats make it unnecessary.
Apparently Paul Ryan’s plan for Social Security is awfully similar to Pinochet’s, which didn’t end up working out so well. That’s why it’s so important to re-elect Obama, because he’ll fight to keep Social Security intact. Or not.
I also like this right-wing lunatic’s attempt to draw parallels between liberalism and Islam, when fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity have such similar contempt for gays and women and absolute intolerance for all other beliefs.
The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, was approved in a 233-175 vote, although as usual, the bill many Democrats described as anti-environmental still found some Democratic support — 19 Democrats voted for it.
The legislation is a combination of five bills that would overturn or prevent an array of regulations that Republicans say would harm the coal industry and the economy. Among other things, it would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and prevent rules on the storage and disposal of coal ash and limit Clean Water Act rules.
It would also prevent potential Interior Department rules to toughen environmental controls on mountaintop removal coal mining, and thwart other air emissions rules, including air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants.
So apparently imprisoning black and brown people in the name of the wars on drugs and terror is a-okay, but a war on rising oceans and poisoned air is cruel and unjust.
An organization founded by Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson announced Tuesday that it has raised more than $25 million to launch a national campaign to encourage policy makers to pass debt legislation in the coming months.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt has collected contributions from corporate CEOs and others for a national media campaign and advertising campaign to urge lawmakers reach a solution to the debt crisis.
A more accurate name would be “The Campaign to Fix the Debt without Making the Rich Pay More Taxes”. See also: The supposed need to cut Social Security in order to save it, instead of simply raising or removing the income cap on payroll taxes.
While [the pre-August 6 PDBs] are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
History will not be kind. I just wish Bush’s punishment was something a little more… substantive than the scorn of future generations.
The reason the RNC had to use one of their own staffers to pretend to be a disappointed Obama supporter isn’t that ex-Obama backers are hard to find, it’s that it’s hard to find any that have dumped him for reasons that are favorable to Romney. There are a whole bunch of us out there, but precious few of us have given up on Obama because he spends too much money and hangs out with celebrities. We’ve given up on him because he’s done nothing to roll back Bush’s authoritarian, pro-corporate, pro-wealth policies. If anything, he’s even expanded some of them.
But obviously those reasons wouldn’t really play well in an ad for Mitt Romney. They’d much rather have some phony insisting that they’re mad at Obama because they expected him to have destroyed Social Security and Medicare by now, and to have rolled back all corporate regulations and taxes.
Mr. Ryan also cited bankruptcy numbers to make the point that failing businesses mean fewer jobs. “In 1980 under Jimmy Carter, 330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy,” he said. “Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy.”
Of the 1,410,653 total bankruptcy filings last year, 47,806 were business bankruptcies, according to the institute. And, again, the numbers are falling. In 2009, there were 60,837 business bankruptcies.
We can use this to actually quantify a multiplier for Ryan’s bullshit, a “Ryan Constant”, if you will, which works out to be approximately 29.285. Armed with this information, we can now re-examine Ryan’s claim to have climbed 40 of Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners”, or mountains that are 14,000 feet tall or higher. Applying the Ryan Constant, we find that Ryan has actually climbed 1.4 fourteeners. Or 40 mountains that are 478+ feet high.
Funny how Republicans and conservatives are all about small government when it comes to guns, regulating or taxing rich people and corporations, or helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly, yet they can’t get enough government when it comes to voting and registration requirements, security theater, domestic spying, immigrants, drug laws, prisons, abortion, or anything to do with the military.
Why, it’s almost as if “small government” is just a convenient excuse for letting moneyed interests have whatever they want at the expense of everyone else, rather than a bedrock principle conservatives sincerely believe in.
Arizona has decided to let private companies bid on creating a new prison, despite the fact that privately run prisons are actually more expensive than state-run ones. But that little fact is secondary to the most important problem with any state-run enterprise: No one gets rich off of it. (See also: Why we have healthcare “reform” that features an individual mandate and no public option, much less single payer)
AP did their best to try to make the alternative to Social Security benefit cuts sound as unappealing as possible, asking people if they would rather “raise taxes” than cut benefits, but their respondents still preferred that to cutting benefits by a 53-36 margin.
Now imagine what that margin would be if they had asked about keeping the rate the same but raising or eliminating the cap on the payroll tax cap so that the rich pay the same effective rate as everyone else. Too bad that seems to be almost a taboo subject, probably because the fix is in.
You almost have to admire the GOP’s courage in staking out a position that, if not exactly pro-rape, is not entirely anti-rape either. And emphatically not pro-rape victim. So far, I’ve counted three ways in which Republicans act as rape apologists:
1) De-legitimizing rape: In essence, Republicans believe that, come on, not all rapes are really rapes. That if it doesn’t involve a knife or a gun or physical force, well, it’s only rape in some abstract technical sense – it’s more like a date that just got a little out of control. It’s not only Todd Akin talking about “legitimate rape” as if there’s such a thing as fake rape, but most of the House Republican caucus, which tried to limit the rape exemption for abortion coverage to include only “forcible rape” last year.
(To their credit, the GOP has come up with an elegant way to eliminate this awkward rape caste system: Their 2012 platform calls for a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions, with no rape exemption for anyone. So now all rapes are illegitimate. See also: Voting against the Franken bill to sever ties with contractors that force employees to settle on-the-job rape cases through an arbitrator.)
2) Minimizing the impact: This is similar to the first, but is more about the aftermath. Essentially, Republicans are claiming that rape victims rarely get pregnant. Again, you have Todd Akin’s now-famous claim that “legitimate rape” victims can “shut that whole thing down,” whatever that means. But you also have Rep. Steve King implying that statutory rape and incest victims (which I’m assuming Akins would not consider “legitimate rape”) don’t get pregnant either.
The funny thing about this line of argument is that it’s deployed as a justification for denying abortion exemptions to rape victims. But if they never get pregnant, why worry about the exemption at all? Oh right, because of all the abortion queens who will falsely cry rape just so they can have more abortions. Damn those abortion queens.
3) Accentuating the positive: This is the most perverse of all. You have Mike Huckabee going on about all the wonderful people who are the children of rape, and Missouri Republican Sharon Barnes saying, “if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.” I’m pretty sure most rape victims are not going to view their rape baby as an awesome parting gift, especially if they end up looking into the eyes of their rapist every day for 18 or more years.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter, since if they were legitimately raped, they wouldn’t be pregnant anyway, right?
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there is a fundamental difference between the way normal people and Republicans perceive rape. Normal people think of rape as a soul-shattering assault, while Republicans appear to think of it as unwanted and not-particularly-good sex. At most, they may view it as something like a punch in the face, where the victim is completely back to normal once they recover from the shock and the pain.
Frankly, the only way I can think of to make Republicans as anti-rape as the rest of us is for Obama to declare that he’s for it.
Funny how the people who argue that corporations will do the right thing in the absence of regulation and government oversight are usually the same people who believe that atheists can’t be moral without the fear of divine retribution.
Of course I don’t really expect Boehner to remove one of his own caucus members from the House Intelligence Committee for such a teensy-weensy infraction as calling people Islamist infiltrators based on ridiculously flimsy evidence, but saying “I don’t know that that’s related at all” is going a bit too far.
It’s not just that Bachmann is temperamentally unsuited to have a seat on such an important committee, but the fact that she can’t tell fact from fiction, or Muslim from terrorist. How is that level of delusional incompetence anything but a hindrance to the committee’s responsibilities?
Former (recalled) AZ state senator Russell Pearce, blaming CO theatergoers for being too lame and chickenshit to take down a madman with four guns and full body armor:
What a heart breaking story. Had someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this “bad” man from most of this tragedy. He was two and three feet away from folks, I understand he had to stop and reload. Where were the men of flight 93???? Someone should have stopped this man. Someone could have stopped this man. Lives were lost because of a bad man, not because he had a weapon, but because noone was prepared to stop it. Had they been prepared to save their lives or lives of others, lives would have been saved.
All that was needed is one Courages/Brave man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done.
Yeah, I’m sure it’s just that easy. And the Flight 93 comparison is terrible: The passengers had a lot more time to plan their actions (i.e., no one was actively shooting at them), their vision wasn’t obscured by darkness and teargas. Stay classy, Mr. Pearce.
So, in addition to somehow connecting the tragic movie theater shooting to “the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” (really???), Tea Party Genius Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is also frustrated that there weren’t more guns at the Century 16:
It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?
Yes, what a shame. Because a whole bunch of people with guns in a panicky darkened movie theater surely would have improved the situation.
More likely they’d be so amped up with fear and adrenaline and macho that they’d get themselves killed trying to be the hero, or shoot some innocent bystander because they “thought he had a gun,” or because he fit some rumored description of the shooter, or maybe because he was another wannabe hero shooting at an innocent bystander. Tragedy Plus Guns does not actually equal Less Tragedy.
This is a window into the right wing’s juvenile fantasy world, where they like to imagine themselves in the role of the Courageous American Hero who saves the day. But, of course that would be dangerous, so the next best thing is to try to create the conditions for such heroism, so that they may bask in its reflected glory (See Also: How We Got Into Operation Iraqi Fuckup). Enabling the hero is almost as good as being the hero, and a lot safer!
It’s okay to fantasize about being a hero who wins the game or saves the day, but just because you see those scenarios play out in the movies and on TV, real life is much more chaotic and confusing, especially when you’re in a dark, crowded space full of tear gas. And even if some would-be hero in the audience does get lucky, the shooter is probably still going to kill a few people before he gets taken down. So instead of trying to create some kind of hit-or-miss self-correcting Wild West system, wouldn’t it be better to just make it harder for people – especially dangerously disturbed people – get guns in the first place?
Investigators for an Arizona [Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s] volunteer posse have declared that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is definitely fraudulent.
Mike Zullo, the posse’s chief investigator, said numeric codes on certain parts of the birth certificate indicate that those parts weren’t filled out, yet those sections asking for the race of Obama’s father and his field of work or study were completed.
Zullo said investigators previously didn’t know the meaning of codes but they were explained by a 95-year-old former state worker who signed the president’s birth certificate.
Sooo… Their conclusion that Obama’s birth certificate is fake is based on information from THE GUY WHO SIGNED IT???
[Meet The Press’s David] GREGORY: He was still financially linked to Bain. And of course, a lot his fortune is due to his time with Bain. Even when he was on leave, does he stand by the business decisions that were made by the firm he created?
[Romney campaign adviser Ed] GILLESPIE: He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.
David Bromwich offers up a lengthy explanation of how the young Obama’s grappling with racial identity and his self-perception as a transformative “man of genius” have shaped his desire for unity and consensus above all else, and his preference for words over deeds, but it’s the wrong explanation, proceeding from a faulty premise.
Obama doesn’t half-ass progressive policies because he craves bipartisanship or is bad at follow-through, he half-asses them because he doesn’t want them. Obama isn’t some weak or foolish liberal hamstrung by personal drama, he’s a corporate tool who uses the DLC strategy of packaging conservatism as cunning political positioning rather than plain old selling out for money.
The religious right is now presenting imaginary dinosaurs as established scientific fact in its textbooks. Because apparently if dinosaurs exist today, that somehow disproves evolution, in what I can only assume is a variation of the “if humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?” argument.
With today’s decision in Southern Union Company v. United States, the Chamber [of Commerce] has declared victory in all seven of its cases that have reached a clear outcome [this year]….
This string of seven straight victories brings the Chamber’s overall win/loss rate before the Roberts Court up to 68% (60 of 88 cases). As we have reported in prior studies, this is significantly higher than the Chamber’s success before the Rehnquist Court of 56% (45 of 80 cases), and dramatically higher than its success rate before the Burger Court, when the Chamber only won 43% (15 of 35) of its cases.
Yet another sign that government of the people, by the people, and for the people has indeed perished from the earth. Or at least from the United States.