GOP Folly

GOP Summit—The Good, The Bad And The Absolutely Crazy

Half-Term Governor of Alaska: Sarah Palin | Jim Young/Reuters

 The Daily Beast

GOP presidential contenders flocked to Iowa on Saturday to try out their pitches on the unofficial beginning of the Iowa Caucus. Hint: Sarah Palin has lost her mind.
You’re going to read a lot of analysis of this weekend’s Freedom Summit as the unofficial beginning of the Iowa caucus.Whether that’s true depends entirely on how many of those who attended are still standing one long year from now—and how many of those who didn’t attend (Jeb Bush, Rand Paul) have campaigns that are still alive and well.The event does serve as a gauge for a candidate’s willingness to pander, and it is the beginning of serious media scrutiny for all the candidates as 2016 candidates,not as quaint spectacles (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz) or interesting anomalies (Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina)…. or familiar former presidential candidates, who made up a non-shocking majority of the featured speakers (Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin).

What did we learn?

Palin is past her sell-by date.

It’s the unofficial policy of many serious political reporters (myself included) to not cover Palin speeches.  So it’s entirely possible I missed a key stretch of her decline that would help make sense of, or have prepared me for, the word-salad-with-a-cup-of-moose-stew that she presented.

Sample passage: “Things must change for our government! It isn’t too big to fail, it’s too big to succeed! It’s too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads or nothing will change, with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo! Another Latin word, status quo, and it stands for, ‘Man, the middle class and everyday Americans are really gettin’ taken for a ride.’”

The speech (perhaps a generous description) went on 15 minutes past the 20 minutes allotted other speakers. And even as she ended it, one sensed less a crescendo than the specter of a gong, a hook to pull her off, or—a sincere thought I had—an ambulance to take her… somewhere.

No one else embarrassed themselves out of the race.

The event was organized by immigration hawk Rep. Steve “Cantaloupes” King (with the help of Citizens United) and many pundits fretted (or eagerly anticipated) 47-percent-style gaffes in the service of speakers trying to out-xenophobe each other. I may have missed something, but the anti-immigration rhetoric stayed on the “self-deport” side of offensive. Santorum did some under-the-breath dog whistling in reference to legal immigration, positing that the U.S. is home to more non-native citizens than ever before. He contrasted those non-native-born workers to, ahem, “American workers.” As far as I know, if you work in America, you are an “American worker.” Unless Santorum is thinking of something else.

The soft bigotry of low expectation works!

Scott Walker continues to clear the “not Tim Pawlenty” bar, but no one seems to realize how weak of a standard that is. National journalists cooed over Walker’s relatively energetic speech, apparently forgetting they were comparing it to other Walker speeches. In a similar vein, Chris Christie did not intentionally piss anyone off or bully the audience. Christie gave what seemed a lot like a national-audience speech—probably the only speaker that played it so safe.

Sen. Mike Lee gave some sensible, serious suggestions.

I may be engaging in more expectation management, but I was pleasantly surprised by Lee’s earnest and non-applause-line-ridden speech. He beseeched the audience to look for a candidate that was “positive, principled, and proven”—all while explicitly taking himself out of the running. In what could have been a direct jab at his fellow guests, he quipped, “The principled candidate is not necessarily the guy who yells ‘Freedom!’ the loudest.” He could have been quoting Elizabeth Warren when he softened typical GOP bootstrap rhetoric: “Freedom doesn’t mean ‘You’re all on your own,’” he said, “It means, ‘We’re all in it together.’” Elizabeth Warren would approve.

The GOP is going to need to figure out how to run against someone who is not Obama.

Even Lee, who gave what might be the most forward-looking speech, hung many of his arguments on the framework of undoing what Obama has done. Every other speaker followed suit, and some of the night’s biggest applause lines had to do with the same “fake scandals” that already proved insufficiently interesting to the American people: Benghazi, with a dash of IRS. They speak of repealing Obamacare with the zest of people who think of the House’s own fifty-plus attempts as mere warm-ups. Even their foreign policy script has Obama and the specter of American decline as its primary villains—foes that have defeated them twice before.

Republican Senator Calls Progressive Americans ‘Straight Old Dumb-Ass Liberals’

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) | (Photo by Gage Skidmore; courtesy Creative Commons)

The audacity…the absurdity…the irony. Pot meet Kettle…

Addicting Info

Many conservatives are “outraged” over Jonathan Gruber’s “stupidity of the American voter” comment regarding the Affordable Care Act. However, I bet not one conservative even winced when Republican Senator Orin Hatch called progressive Americans “Just straight old dumb-ass liberals.” But why should they care? He’s one of them, so they’re immune to wrongdoing:

“I get a big kick out of them using the word ‘progressive,’” Hatch said, as quoted by Huffington Post. “My gosh, they’re just straight old dumb-ass liberals anyway.”

There it is again! That “kinder, gentler tone” the GOP promised they would use now that they’ve won. Apparently professionalism runs through the GOP. It’s comment like these being one of the reasons why the GOP cannot expand its base beyond old, white, rich, Christian men.

The Utah Republican made these comments in front of many attendees at the Federalist Society’s annual conference, and also said that he looks forward to giving the Democrats “a taste of their own medicine” when the GOP takes back the White House in 2016. The Senator also said that he wants the new Senate to keep the filibuster rules that were changed by by the Democrats in 2013 in order to “teach those blunderheads that they made a big mistake.”

Wait, I thought the Republicans were the proud party of ‘no.’ It’s confusing who is who?

“Frankly, I intend to win with our candidate for the presidency in 2016, and we will give them a taste of their own medicine. And we’re going to win. We’re going to win. These next two years are extremely important. Maybe the most important two years in our history,” Hatch said.

You hear that, Democrats? This gut is amped up and ready to fight and win. Are you going to put in the same effort for 2016 to make sure fools like this don’t see victory? If one says it, you know they’re all probably thinking it.

Regarding immigration, Hatch has taken the same tone as every single Republican that has been before a camera: Obama just won’t work for us, and if he uses executive action, by-golly he’s going to be in a world of hurt:

“Frankly, I’d like to see immigration done the right way,” Hatch added. “This president is prone to doing through executive order that which he cannot do by working with the Congress, because he won’t work with us. If he worked with us, I think we could get an immigration bill through … He has a Republican Congress that’s willing to work with him. That’s the thing that’s pretty interesting to me.”

Fox News’ Ed Henry walks out after snub at White House press conference

What’s with those childish temper tantrums from Republicans lately?

The Raw Story

Call it a shot across the bow, perhaps. But White House press secretary Jay Carney pointedly left Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry out of the queue at a Friday press conference, leaving Henry sputtering.

Henry left before the end of the meeting after trying unsuccessfully to ask a question several times, according to Mediaite.

The exchange, or lack of one, followed a contentious session on Wednesday in which Henry essentially accused the president of being indifferent to the families of servicemembers killed in action. The Wednesday exchange between Carney and Henry over the restoration of military death benefits centered on Henry repeatedly asking when Obama “learn[ed] specifically that the military death benefits would not be paid,” the tone becoming more confrontational with each back and forth between Henry and Carney.

Carney described Henry as a partisan opponent during that exchange. This wasn’t the first contentious exchange between the two. Henry badgered Carney last month about whether or not the White House staffer would sign up for Obamacare. Though Henry meant it as a gotcha-type accusation, Carney replied “If I did not have employer provided health insurance, like I’m sure you do, unless there’s something about Fox I don’t know, then I would absolutely enroll and it would be more affordable.”

At the impromptu Friday press conference, Carney called on no television reporters, and ignored Henry’s attempts to ask a question.

Watch the end of the press conference below.

Wonkbook: The shutdown is a total disaster for the GOP

(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

The Washington Post – Ezra Klein

Thursday’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll hit the Republican Party like a bomb.

It found, as Gallup had, the Republican Party (and, separately, the Tea Party) at “all-time lows in the history of the poll.” It found Republicans taking more blame for the shutdown than they had in 1995. It found more Americans believing the shutdown is a serious problem than in 1995.

Even worse for the GOP is what the pollsters called “the Boomerang Effect”: Both President Obama and Obamacare are more popular than they were a month ago. Obamacare in particular gained seven points. (More poll highlights here, full results here.)

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the GOP’s strategic failure here: Obamacare’s launch has been awful. More than a week after the federal insurance marketplaces opened, most people can’t purchase insurance on the first try. But Republicans have chosen such a wildly unpopular strategy to oppose it that they’ve helped both Obamacare and its author in the polls.

This could’ve been a week when Republicans crystallized the case against Obamacare. Instead it’s been a week in which they’ve crystallized the case against themselves.

And for what? In 2011, when Republicans last tried serious hostage taking, they managed to drive down both their numbers and President Obama’s numbers. But even if they could manage that now — and while the NBC/WSJ and Washington Post/ABC News polls both showed some improvement in Obama’s numbers, an AP poll showed deterioration — this isn’t 2011.

In 2011, President Obama was going to be on the ballot against a Republican candidate who wasn’t involved in the mess in Washington. The congressional GOP’s kamikaze mission made sense as a way to aid an outsider challenger like Mitt Romney. But Obama won’t be on any more ballots. Congressional Republicans will be. At this point, it’s not a kamikaze mission. It’s just suicide.

Senior Republicans — who never wanted to be in this mess in the first place — are increasingly desperate to get out. On Thursday, House Republicans floated a six-week delay of the debt ceiling and Senate Republicans floated a proposal that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling in return for repeal of the medical-device tax and a handful of other minor concessions.

Democrats didn’t jump at either proposal. Their position is no policy negotiations until the government is reopened and the debt-ceiling is raised and they’re seeing nothing in the polls to change their mind.

The problem for Republicans right now is they still believe they need to get something, anything, in return for funding the government and paying the bills. They promised their base concessions and they feel they need to deliver. But as of yet, they’re still not prepared to give anything up — at least not anything Democrats see as a concession.

The hope was that the pain of the shutdown and the Democrats’ fear of the debt ceiling would give the GOP leverage. But all Democrats are seeing is a disaster for the GOP. And at this point, the GOP is seeing it, too.

Secrets of the right: Selling garbage to your fans

Secrets of the right: Selling garbage to your fans

I found the timing of  this article interesting.  This phenomena was reported  here…two years ago.  In fact, then Rep. Anthony Weiner targeted Goldline  back in 2010.

Salon

If the late social critic Eric Hoffer is correct in his often quoted (inaccurately, it turns out) adage that “every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket,” then the conservative movement is well onto the third phase of that life cycle.

Last week, preeminent conservative blogger and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson was busted hawking a pricey but dubiously valuable financial advice newsletter to his readers in an ad that turned out to be lifted from a previous ad for the same newsletter sent in the name of Ann Coulter a few years earlier. “I’m happy to support a good friend. Didn’t earn a penny,” he tweeted. Whether you believe that or not may depend on whether you know that his publisheronce offered to sell his endorsement, or if you believe, as Alex Pareene has often written, that the conservative movement is, among other things, an elaborate moneymaking venture by which the wealth of the rabid and gullible conservative rank and file is redistributed to already rich celebrities.

The truth is, peddling shady products to your most loyal listeners and readers is the rule, not the exception, and Erickson was just unfortunate enough to have someone notice him, and not the dozen other talkers or news outlets it could have easily been. From miracle health cures, to get-rich-quick schemes, to overpriced precious metals and seed banks, talk radio hosts and conservative news outlets are making a killing by trading their platform and credibility for the hard-earned cash of their unsuspecting listeners.

The most obvious example is gold, the precious metal conservative talkers encouraged their listeners to go all in on during the Great Recession (via the companies that pay them to say that and give them a cut of sales, naturally), but gold has since fallen more than 30 percent from its peak. If you bought when gold was near its high, you could have lost half your nest egg, and analysts say prices could fall another 50 percent. But poor financial advice aside, the real problem came in the particular companies the conservative luminaries ensured their listeners they could trust.

Glenn Beck is the most egregious, with his partnership with Goldline International, which also enjoys endorsements from Mark Levin and, until recently, Sean Hannity and others. Beck cut tearful promotional videos for the company, hawks them passionately on his radio and TV programs, and even designed a coin for the company this year (it reads “mind your business” on the front).

As it turns out, the company’s business model is built on systematically swindling its mostly elderly clientele by talking or tricking them into buying overpriced coins or just sending them different products than they bought, prosecutors in California alleged, leading the company to settle for $4.5 million in refunds to its customers. A judge instructed the company to foot the bill for a court-appointed monitor, who was supposed to ensure the company stopped its alleged “bait and switch” scam.

Not long after that, the company’s former chief compliance officer came forward to say the company was back to its old tricks. “Goldline specifically targets vulnerable consumers with sales tactics designed to pressure those consumers into buying products that would often result in the consumer losing over one-third of his or her investment the instant the purchase is made,” she said in a legal complaint filed late last year.

More here…

When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?

Republican - Elephants on Balloons  :   http://mariopiperni.com/

Good question.

I also, I wonder why “the stupid” is more prevalent within the GOP than anywhere else?  Joe Barton is the same Representative who apologized to BP for being charged with a $20 Billion claims fund after the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  He called it a shakedown.  That’s the guy who is the subject of the following Piperni post…

Mario Piperni

Is it time yet to make a double-digit IQ a prerequisite to running for public office?

Via Foolocracy:

Texas Rep. Joe Barton doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. That’s partially because he is firmly in the pocket of Big Oil. The oil and gas industry is the largest contributor to Barton’s warchest.

However, Barton’s fervor to deny that humans have anything to do with climate change has taken a new direction. In a bizarre reference to the Great Flood of the Bible, Barton is using that as evidence that hydrocarbons don’t change the climate. How Barton draws that comparison is going to have to be left to the imagination. Barton doesn’t elaborate on what forty days of rain in antiquity has to do with the present-day earth warming.

Perhaps he is thinking that today’s rising sea levels are the same challenge that Noah had building an ark. If only the answer to climate change was so simple. Here is the great environmental insight from Barton:

“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that climate is changing. I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence.”

“I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

It’s probably impossible to pack more stupid into a single statement but that won’t stop Barton and his fellow Texas Republicans (Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Steve Stockman – to name a few) from attempting to do that very thing the next time they find themselves in front of a microphone. You can count on it.

Republicans still conflicted on who to blame for election failures

Gopasaur

In my opinion it was a combination of Tea Party hatriots, Mitt Romney’s cluelessness and the GOP’s stupidity, combined…

Daily Kos

The Republican Party is still hard at work figuring out why people seem to hate them, or at least why they’re not voting for them. Unfortunately, they can’t agree on what the problem is,which is hampering efforts to find a solution:

There’s a split between those who believe the party’s problem is cosmetic, those who believe it’s data-based and those who think it’s ideological and policy-based. Within those camps, there’s no common ground on what a better approach would look like.  […]The constant drama, a number of Republicans say, has denied the party writ large a chance to take stock amid calm. Still, the Republican National Committee is moving ahead with what Chairman Reince Priebus has at times called an “autopsy” into 2012.

The RNC efforts are just one of many, and it’s not clear the RNC opinion will hold any more weight than any of the others. The problem is that every individual group and consultancy has obvious reasons to declare that their version of what went wrong is the true one, and everyone else should therefore shut up and keep paying them money. Technophiles are convinced that the Romney campaign just needed to post more things to Twitter. Hard-right conservatives think the answer is to be more hard-right. Karl Rove knows that Karl Rove was right and should continue to be paid the big bucks, so he thinks the answer is to stop sending him candidates who so obviously suck. And every message strategist, everywhere, thinks the answer is in tweaking the messaging.

If there are any serious, credible attempts at self-reflection, however, I haven’t seen them. Yes, various party contrarians have muttered about the necessity of policy reforms and of the demographic hurdles facing the aging, perpetually cranky party; those individuals, however, are in no position to enact such reforms. Nobody is. (Even immigration reform, the supposed easiest fix for claiming a new, more inclusive base, has been stymied by the hostility of hard-right party ideologues; regardless of the much-ballyhooed breakthrough on the Senate side, Republican efforts on the issue look to be a rigged game.) Republican social policies remain captured by the hard-right base; economic policies are tied inextricably to the needs of the big donors that the party apparatus relies so very heavily on. All of this ties into our previous suspicion that the party has devolved into nothing but an elaborate grift, or at least that the party has no particular concept of the difference between true ideology and intentionally astroturfing, well, themselves. And yes, I mean that seriously.

Continue reading here…

Republican New Mexico Bill Would Make Criminals Of Rape Victims Who Have Abortions

Uh…that GOP moratorium on the word rape seems to have dissipated…

Alan Colmes’ Liberaland

The bill by Rep. Cathrynn Brown would require victims of rape to carry fetuses to term or be accused of tampering with evidence.

“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime,” the bill says.

Third-degree felonies in New Mexico carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive nonprofit opposing the bill, called it “blatantly unconstitutional” on Thursday.

“The bill turns victims of rape and incest into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state,” he said. “According to Republican philosophy, victims who are ‘legitimately raped’ will now have to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.“

 

The 5 Biggest Lies In Mitt Romney’s Acceptance Speech

I honestly couldn’t stomach looking at the GOP Convention at all.

I listened to some of the pundit shows on MSNBC, but with a couple of exceptions, mainstream media is also overlooking the truth.

When did we get such myopic media and dumb as hell constituents?

PoliticusUSA

Mitt Romney delivered an acceptance speech that stretched, massaged, distorted, and flat out violated the truth. Here are the five biggest lies uttered by Romney in Tampa.

1). Mitt Romney Goes Birther

What Romney Said, “Tonight that American flag is still there on the moon. And I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.”

The Truth: Ah yes, what would a gathering of more than four Republicans be if somebody didn’t suggest in the most sly way that Obama is not American. Romney’s statement can also be viewed as when you need really big stuff done, you need a white man. It was subtle, but it was there. Romney was doing his best Ronald Reagan all-American impression. If Romney is Captain America, then what does that make Barack Obama?

 

2). Romney Says he Won’t Raise Taxes on the Middle Class

What Romney Said, “Unlike President Obama, I won’t raise taxes on the middle class of America.”

The Truth: Romney’s tax plan is classic trickle down economics. Romney’s tax plan lowers on the top 2% of earners and raises taxes on everyone else. According to the Tax Policy Center, taxes on the middle class would go up by about $2,000 to pay for Romney’s tax cut for the wealthy.

 

3). Romney Promises to Create 12 Million New Jobs and Claims Obama has no Jobs Plan

What Romney Said, “And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.”

The Truth: This is a double whopper on Romney’s part, and one that he is fond of repeating on the campaign trail. First, President Obama does have a plan to create jobs. It’s called the American Jobs Act, and it was killed by congressional Republicans.

The second part of Romney’s lie was a bit more devious. Romney promised to create 12 million new jobs, because he and his campaign know that economic forecasts show that if nothing is done, the economy will create 11.8 on it’s own. Mitt Romney is suggested that America should elect him because his leadership will be 200,000 jobs better than doing absolutely nothing. That is the kind of leadership that Mitt Romney is promising America.

 

4). Romney Accuses Obama of Not Creating Jobs, Wanting to Raise Taxes on Small Business, and Assaulting Coal, Oil and Natural Gas

What Romney Said, “His policies have not helped create jobs, they have depressed them. And this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America: His plan to raise taxes on small business won’t add jobs, it will eliminate them; His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China; His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”

The Truth: This was a triple play of lies. So far Obama has created 4.5 million jobs. Obama’s extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone but the rich actually cuts taxes for 97% of small businesses. Oil, coal, and natural gas production have all increased under Obama. Coal production is up 0.93%. Oil production is up 5.7%, and natural gas is up 22%.

 

5). Romney Claims Obama Began his Presidency with an Apology Tour

What Romney Said, “I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.”

The Truth: This is a huge lie that has been debunked by every fact checker in the United States. It is also one of the Republican Party’s favorite lies about Obama.

As  The Washington Post’s Fact Checker put it, “The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context. Obama often was trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism. In other cases, Obama’s quotes have been selectively trimmed for political purposes. Or they were not much different than sentiments expressed by Bush or his secretary of state. Republicans may certainly disagree with Obama’s handling of foreign policy or particular policies he has pursued, but they should not invent a storyline that does not appear to exist.”

Overall, Romney’s speech was just like everything else we have seen from the Republican nominee. It was long on Obama bashing and lacking a real vision for the future. There were few specifics, sparse details, and the only thing to be gained from his speech that Romney wouldn’t do what Obama did.

The question Romney never answered is why anyone should vote for him?

What Romney will do as president? He won’t tell you. The opening of the speech was designed to humanize Romney and get voters to like him, but stories about getting a church’s pension fund aren’t the kind of thing that connects with voters.

Mitt Romney was going for I feel your pain, but what came out was I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. A fresh bit of Botox can’t smooth out the wrinkles in this candidate. Mitt Romney came in to Tampa as fatally flawed nominee, and he leaves having addressed none of those flaws.

Romney’s speech will be forgotten by Labor Day, and he will be even further behind in the polls after Obama speaks next Thursday. The under card is finished. Democrats are bringing the star power and the main event is heading to Charlotte.