GOP Hubris

Republicans Busted For Hyping Ebola While Blocking Obama Surgeon General Nominee

busted
H/t: Ted

PoiliticusUSA

Republicans were busted on the Meet The Press and Face The Nation for hyping Ebola fears while refusing to confirm President Obama’s nominee to be Surgeon General.

Video of Sen. Blunt on Meet The Press:

Transcript:

CHUCK TODD: Senator, I’m going to go back to the surgeon general issue here. This seems to be politics. The NRA said they were going to score the vote, and suddenly everybody’s frozen. That seems a little petty in hindsight, does it not?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: Well, you know, if the president really ought to nominate people that can be confirmed to these jobs, and frankly, then we should confirm them. There’s no question about that. But just a normal worker of conscious–

CHUCK TODD: But should the NRA have a say? I mean, they can have an opinion. But should the NRA have that much influence over a surgeon general nominee? He’s not going to make gun policy.

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: Well, I’m not sure that’s why, you’d have to ask Senator Reid why he hasn’t moved that to the top of his list to be confirmed. This goes on all the time.

CHUCK TODD: Will you confirm him?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: A number of people have been confirmed. Until this came up, frankly, I’ve heard very little discussion about the surgeon general. You know, I’m hearing now that the attorney general nomination won’t happen until after the election. We keep putting everything off until after the election. And that’s one of the reasons that things don’t work.

On Face The Nation, Bob Schieffer asked Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) a similar question.

Video:

Transcript:

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this. Republicans, people in Congress have been very critical of the president. And yet, the Congress can’t even break the gridlock long enough to confirm a surgeon general, which is supposed to be the top health office in the country.

I know that’s what the confirmation process takes part…

BLACKBURN: Right.

SCHIEFFER: — and place in the Senate. You’re a member of the House.

BLACKBURN: Right.

SCHIEFFER: But give me your thoughts on that.

BLACKBURN: Yes, you know, I think that what you have in the House is bipartisan frustration with Harry Reid in the Senate. You know, we have 387 House-passed bills, 98 percent of them bipartisan, 298 of those bills veto-proof. And they’re sitting on Harry Reid’s desk.

And we find it very frustrating that the Senate has not been able to get the work done. We wish they would come back and that they would do that. It would help the country and it would get some things passed that need to be passed.

Both Republicans never answered the question about why their party is blocking the president’s Surgeon General nominee. Instead, they both went into the standard Republican soft shoe routine of blaming President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The truth is that Sen. Rand Paul has a hold on the nomination, so until the Kentucky senator lifts his hold, there can’t be a confirmation vote. Senate Republicans are preventing the nation from having a Surgeon General during the Ebola outbreak.

Republicans can’t have it both ways. They can’t spread Ebola fears, and blame President Obama for the response.Republicans cut infectious disease preparedness funding and federal, state, and local levels. Republicans are blocking the president’s nominee to be Surgeon General because the NRA told them to.

Republicans might end up regretting trying to make Ebola a campaign issue, because GOP their tactic is highlighting the fact that their obstruction and budget cuts are a big part of the problem.

Down goes Perry! The GOP’s “deep bench” just completely fell apart

Down goes Perry! The GOP's "deep bench" just completely fell apart

In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivers a speech to nearly 300 in attendance at the 2014 RedState Gathering, in Fort Worth, Texas. Perry was indicted on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, for abuse of power after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)(Credit: AP)

If Rand Paul, Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush are the last men standing in terms of GOP presidential prospects for 2016, they’re in a heap of trouble…

Salon - Joan Walsh

Pity the billionaire Republican donors, trying to choose among Christie, Walker and now-indicted Rick Perry for ’16

There was a time, long ago, when the Beltway media had a comforting narrative for Republicans, as they faced the loss of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2012. And it was: Unlike the Democrats, who were relying on flawed hero Hillary Clinton, the GOP had a “deep bench” of candidates for 2016, one that was especially thick with pragmatic governors.

But that bench has been splintering for a while, and now it’s a small pile of wood shavings that might be used as tinder for a fire that could ignite in 2020 or later – or not. Actually, it’s probably not even that useful.

We’ve seen New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at least partly sidelined by his various scandals. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seems to have survived two damaging John Doe investigations, only to wind up tied with political newcomer Mary Burke in his November re-election race. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – oh, never mind, everyone crossed him off that list at least a year ago.

Now, shockingly, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been indicted for his role in a state scandal, on Friday night. The charges center on Perry’s decision to veto funding for the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, charged with investigating public corruption – her office’s work indicted former Texas congressman Tom DeLay in 2005 – after she was arrested for drunk driving.

Back when Perry vetoed the funding, Lehmberg was investigating the state’s Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, after multiple allegations of corruption under Perry, including the indictment of one official for mishandling a multimillion-dollar grant.

“The governor has a legitimate statutory role in the legislative process,” Texans for Public Justice director Craig McDonald, who originally filed the complaint, told the New York Times. “In the case of the Travis County district attorney, the governor had no authority over the district attorney’s job — a district attorney who was elected by Travis County voters and serves exclusively at their will.”

Talking to MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, longtime Texas journalist Jim Moore said it looked like “Perry is trying to circumvent being investigated by anyone.” He noted that Lehmberg served 45 days in jail for her drunk driving conviction, even though there is “a long record in this state of forgiving people and electing them to office” after such crimes. That might sound like a lame liberal excuse, but Moore didn’t even  mention the most famous Texas DWI arrest, that of future governor and president George W. Bush.

Indicted by a county grand jury, it’s still possible Perry will beat the charges. It’s also worth noting that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces investigation for comparable allegations of interfering with an agency charged with investigating political wrongdoing by allies. If Clinton wasn’t in the 2016 wings, Cuomo’s troubles would be bigger national news. Now that Perry’s been making aggressive moves right, making it pretty obvious he wants to run in 2016, this is generating big headlines even on a big-news weekend.

Imagine being a billionaire Republican donor: What would you do, surveying the GOP field, if you wanted to avoid the extremism of Sen. Ted Cruz and the eccentric, occasionally libertarian stylings of Sen. Rand Paul, two relative electoral neophytes. You’d likely be crossing Rick Perry off your list tonight, even if you sympathize with his political troubles. “Indicted, but not convicted” isn’t the best slogan for a presidential candidate. There are better slogans for Republicans; Dave Weigel jokingly suggests “Romney 2016: Still not indicted.” I’m not sure that’s the winner, either, but Romney is more likely to be nominated than Rick Perry right now.

Pope Francis sounds too much like Obama to be honored by Congress, Republican says

Pope Francis via AFP

Once again I say…history will not look kindly upon those wack-a-doodles in the 113th Congress.

The Raw Story

A bipartisan congressional resolution that would honor Pope Francis before his potential appearance in Philadelphia next year may not be acted upon because of Republican worries that the pontiff is perceived as being “too liberal,” The Hill reports.

House Resolution 440 aims to “congratulate Pope Francis on his election and recognize his inspirational statements and actions,” but according to one Republican backer of the legislation, the resolution is dead because Pope Francis is “sounding like Obama. [The pope] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged.”

Republicans are upset because of comments the Pope made concerning the free market. Last November, for example, Francis published his Evangelii Gandium, in which he noted that “[a]s long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”

He also specifically attacked President Ronald Reagan’s signature economic policy, “trickle-down theory,” writing that “[s]ome people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

The resolution states that Pope Francis should be honored for, among other things, being the first pontiff from the Americas, as well as “his commitment to economic justice and improving the lives of the poor, and his outreach to individuals from all walks of life have been universally praised and are living examples of Jesus Christ’s message.”

Of the 221 co-sponsors of the legislation, only 19 are Republicans. Democratic Representative John Larson (CT) sent House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) a letter last Friday requesting a vote on the resolution.

“To my knowledge this would be an historic first. I ask that you take a look at a bipartisan resolution introduced by Representative Peter King and myself, acknowledging the first Pope from the Americas … it is my sincere hope that you will consider this resolution for the suspension calendar for a vote,” Larson wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill.

MN GOP candidate: ‘Knocked up’ women don’t deserve dinner, dancing at their wedding

Sheila Kihne via official facebook page

Generally speaking and in my opinion, most GOP politicians are not nice people. To be fair, many Dems fit in that same category…

The Raw Story

A Republican candidate for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives is being criticized for outrageous statements about mothers-to-be she posted on her right-wing blog.

Sheila Kihne hopes to unseat state Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), who she claims is insufficiently conservative to represent the district. “People want a choice,” Kihne told Minnesota Public Radio. “I was at a point where I felt like I couldn’t vote for [Loon].”

On a blog she discontinued in 2009, she wrote that President Barack Obama was leading the one-world-order communists and demanded that single mothers be denied formal wedding ceremonies.

“Don’t you think that if you’re having a baby — and you’re not married — that you should forego the shower?” she asked. “I also think that if you get married — and are knocked up — you should get married quietly. At a courthouse, at a private home.”

Kihne specifically said that there should be no dancing or dinner for prospective brides who are pregnant. She acknowledge that “I’m seen as very cold-hearted with this issue and it’s caused a couple of big arguments in my family,” but insisted on standing her ground against “the idiots in Hollywood who make it look ‘cool’ to tote a baby around sans daddy.”

In that same post, she complains that an unwed mother included a portable DVD-player on her Target registry, addressing a complaint about the “extravagant lives” of people who are below her station. On her Twitter account, she posts photographs — accompanied by outraged comments — of what she is watching on television:

Kihne bills herself as a “small-government conservative,” but is unafraid to insert herself into every aspect of a person’s life.

She wrote a book with her sister about convincing men that the woman who purchased it is “the one.” According to the “About the Author” section of The List — which promises to teach women how to convince their prospective husbands to “take 7 swift actions to secure [their] love forever” — Kihne is one of a pair of “fiery sisters who share a passion for telling other people what to do.”

[Image of Sheila Kihne via Sheila Kihne for House 48B Facebook page]

GOP Lawmaker Finds Dana Loesch’s Private Number to Complain About Tweet

Dana Loesch | Image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

What the hell is this guy’s problem?

It appears the GOP relishes their ability to display double standards.  Had she done the same to him he wouldn’t overlook the INVASION OF PRIVACY.

Mediaite

The rules of Twitter are simple: you have 140 characters to connect, debate, and communicate with people you’ve never even met. But someone needs to explain to Ohio State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) that the rules of Twitter doesnot mean you can call someone’s private phone number to complain about a tweet.

Talk show host Dana Loesch and her husband Chris were in the middle of vacation, and, like most people on vacation, found it hard to stay off Twitter. Chris soon found himself in a heated debate with Brenner and his wife over Glenn Beck’s announcement that he would deliver trucks of supplies and toys to 60,000 migrant children on the border. (For the record, the Brenners equated Beck’s act with amnesty towards illegal immigrants, while Chris simply said that the pundit was acting charitably as a private citizen.)

Yep; normal, run-of-the-mill Twitter debating. And then this happened:

 

 

It turned out that Brenner’s wife/smalltime conservative radio host Sara Marie Brenner, gave her husband the Loeschs’ number, and apparently saw nothing wrong with doing so:

 

 

It’s unclear how Brenner got Chris’s number, or whether the two of them were on close terms before this went down. Nor is it clear whether the Brenners realize how insane it is to call people they barely know on a private number because they didn’t like a tweet of theirs, as an observer pointed out:

 

We think that 99.8% of society would agree with him on that, vacation or no.

[Image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons]

Bowe Bergdahl’s Fellow Soldiers Are Calling Him a ‘Deserter’

I suspect when all is said and done, like Pat Tillman, Bowe Bergdahl was disillusioned about the war in Afghanistan.

We don’t know his psychological state when he wandered off base.  We don’t know much of anything except what the hysterical GOP is telling us and some soldiers who knew Bergdahl.

The investigations into this entire episode will do one of two things find the truth or find no proof of the gossip that is frantically being put out there.  I choose to reserve judgment at this time.

Mediaite

A growing chorus of Bowe Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers are calling the Army sergeant, who wasreleased by the Taliban this weekend in a prisoner swap with the United States, a “deserter,” saying he was captured after walking away from his base, and that soldiers died in attempts to locate him.

There have been rumblings about Bergdahl’s disappearance since it happened in June of 2009. But according to Nathan Bradley Bethea, his fellow soldiers have been under order not to speak about incident. “He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth,” Bethea wrote in the Daily Beast Monday morning. “And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

RELEASED: Bergdahl’s Parents in Teary Conference: ‘Proud of How Far You Went to Help Afghan People’

Bethea is not alone in this opinion. “He walked off,” Former Pfc. Jose Baggett said to CNN’s Jake Tapper. “He left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or he’s a traitor or he was kidnapped. What I do know is he was there to protect us and instead he decided to defer from America and go and do his own thing. I don’t know why he decided to do that, but we spend so much of our resources and some of those resources were soldiers’ lives.”

According to other soldiers, Bergdahl had spoken of walking off from Afghanistan, and per emails obtained by the late Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, he had written his parents expressing his dissatisfaction with the U.S. war effort in the country.

They also allege that precious resources — everything from drones to water — were redirected to the hunt for Bergdahl, which ended up claiming the lives of six servicemen. “It was unbelievable,” one soldier said. “All because of the selfish act of one person. The amount of animosity (toward him) is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.”

It is unclear whether Bergdahl will be the subject of a military investigation following his recuperation in a military hospital.

 

GOP Senator Admits His Obamacare Alternative Would Burden The Elderly

MSNBC Host, Chuck Tod and Sen. Orin Hatch | CREDIT: MSNBC

I saw the segment this morning and I was rather surprised at Senator Hatch’s total disconnect on the issue…

Think Progress

At the beginning of this week, three GOP senators unveiled their alternative to Obamacare — a set of conservative policies that would essentially dismantle the health law’s core consumer protections, and give insurers an opening to deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. And on Thursday, in an interview with one of the primary architects of the proposal, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), MSNBC host Chuck Todd exposed another consequence of the GOP measure. It would actually serve to raise premiums for vulnerable Americans, like elderly people with debilitating health issues.

The Republican proposal promises to allow younger Americans to pay lower premiums for their health plans, and loosens some of the regulations that prevent insurance companies from setting their rates based on factors like health or gender. Todd pointed out that could ultimately result in older people, particularly those who are dealing with the health consequences of aging, paying much more for their care.

Hatch didn’t dispute that, acknowledging that “somebody has to pay for these things”:

CHUCK TODD: One of the assumed benefits in your new plan would allow for cheaper policies for young folks. At the same time, you would allow insurers to sell insurance at varying rates. So if you allow for a cheaper policy for younger, healthier people, right, this has been among the issues, the translation is you’re going to see — how do you prevent a spike for older Americans who, maybe just by default of genetics, are starting with a lot of health care problems, and because of that, end up getting charged more? How do you prevent that spike in rates for them?

ORRIN HATCH: Well, we have a formula in there that it can’t go beyond a certain position. But the fact of the matter is, somebody has to pay for these things. And the Obamacare bill doesn’t pay for things, they pushed them into — into Medicaid, which is non-functioning and not doing what it should do right now.

Watch it:

The two went on to discuss a 25-year-old unmarried man who will be able to get a cheaper policy under the GOP’s plan, since he won’t be required to purchase one that includes maternity coverage. But Todd pointed out that means a woman who needs that type of gender-specific coverage will ultimately have to pay more for it. “Aren’t you essentially shifting the costs to the health insurance user?” he noted. “Somebody is paying here.”

Republicans have maintained that their alternative to the Affordable Care Act will “reduce health care costs and increase access to affordable, high-quality care.” But doing away with the consumer protections that intend to regulate the insurance market for Americans who are older, sicker, and poorer will ultimately end up encouraging a shift toward requiring those individuals to shoulder a higher portion of their insurance costs.

In 1993, Hatch co-sponsored a much more moderate health reform proposal that would have established a minimum benefits package for American consumers. That measure also included a version of the individual mandate, which Hatch later decried as an unconstitutional policy during the fight to pass Obamacare.

UPDATE: Harry Reid Told Caucus That Pete Sessions Was Behind Obama Insult, Senators Say

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, emerges from the office of Speaker of the House John Boehner, Oct. 15. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

No solid proof yet, but the issue is getting hotter…

The Huffington Post

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told his Democratic caucus last week in a private meeting that a top House Republican said to President Barack Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you,” according to two Democratic senators who were present.

The account was confirmed by two Senate Democratic aides who said they independently learned of the exchange from other senators.

A White House official said Thursday that the administration did relay such a message to Reid, but that it was the result of a miscommunication.

“While the quote attributed to a Republican lawmaker in the House GOP meeting with the President is not accurate, there was a miscommunication when the White House read out that meeting to Senate Democrats, and we regret the misunderstanding,” the official said in a statement.

Asked to clarify, then, what the White House originally told Senate Democratic leaders about Obama’s meeting with House Republicans, the official said only, “Not going to read out the details of private meetings with the President, or private meetings between WH and Dem leaders.”

The two senators who spoke to HuffPost did not hear the Republican make the remark, but said a top White House aide who was present later told Senate Democratic leaders that the lawmaker who made the remark was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Reid then told the caucus about the incident on Tuesday and named Sessions, according to one of the two Democratic senators who spoke to HuffPost. Reid also told the caucus that he was “sorry” to have to tell them about it, per this senator, but gave Obama credit for his “dignified” response to Sessions. Reid reportedly told the caucus that Obama responded to Sessions by saying he understood that they disagreed on many issues and he respected their differences.

The revelation from the senators sheds new light on a Capitol Hill whodunit that burst into the public sphere when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shared the exchange onhis Facebook page on Sunday. The alleged incident took place in the throes of the government shutdown, when Obama was meeting with different factions of lawmakers to try to find a resolution to the debacle. (Neither of the two senators who spoke to HuffPost are Durbin.)

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney flatly dismissed the story.

“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said during his daily briefing.

Sessions spokeswoman Torrie Miller said Thursday that the lawmaker never made those comments.

“He did not,” Miller said. “I think it was made clear yesterday from Jay Carney that the exchange you are referring to did not happen.”

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has been demanding an apology from Durbin.

“Senator Durbin’s accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air,” Buck said in a Wednesday statement. “The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize.”

But Durbin isn’t backing down from his original claims.

“Sen. Durbin stands by his comments,” Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told HuffPost Wednesday.

A request for comment from a spokesman for Reid was not returned.

This story has been updated with comment from a senior White House official.

 

Poll: Republicans’ Handling Of Shutdown Gets Low Marks From 3 Out Of 4 Americans

The Huffington Post

Nearly three-quarters of Americans disapprove of Republicans’ handling of the budget crisis, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll released Monday.

Disapproval of the GOP, which has risen steadily since just before the government shutdown began, is now at 74 percent, up 11 points from late September.

A majority of Americans are also discontented with Democrats’ role in the budget negotiations. But disapproval ratings for Democrats in Congress and for President Barack Obama, both of which started at a lower level than disapproval of Republicans in Congress, have remained largely unchanged in the past two weeks. Sixty-one percent of Americans now dislike congressional Democrats’ handling of the crisis, while 53 percent dislike Obama’s. Those are rises of only 5 points and 3 points, respectively, from before the shutdown began.

Republicans themselves are increasingly negative about their lawmakers. In the latest survey, Americans who identified as Republican were about evenly split on congressional Republicans’ performance, with 47 percent giving them a thumbs-down. Sixty-three percent of “very conservative” Republicans, however approve.

Other surveys have found similarly bleak results for the GOP. A Gallup poll last weekshowed the party’s rating at a record low, while an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, also released last week, found that Americans assigned Republicans far more blame for the shutdown. The latter survey also found evidence of an “ideological boomerang” against the GOP, with support rising for a Democratic-controlled Congress, Obama’s health care law and an expanded role for government.

The current political atmosphere is reminiscent of that surrounding the government shutdowns in 1995-1996, said pollster Gary Langer, from which he drew a note of caution.

“That result might give some pause to prognosticators who suggest that criticism of the GOP today will spell losses for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, just more than a year off,” Langer told ABC. “No such impact seems readily apparent in the 1996 election: Ten months after those shutdowns, Clinton won re-election, but the Republicans held the House and Senate alike. Now, as then, what may matter most is not just today’s blame, but the eventual resolution of the crisis, and the extent of damage done en route.”

The ABC/Washington Post poll surveyed 1,010 adults between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13, using live telephone interviews.

GOP Rep. Complains He’s ‘Stuck’ Making ‘$172,000 A Year’

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) – Center

Many of us should be that “stuck”…

TPM LiveWire

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who’s running for Senate in Georgia, complained that while his staff can jump to K Street and make $500,000 a year by lobbying, he’s “stuck” in Congress making a bare $172,000 a year.

The comments, relayed by congressional aides to National Review, came during a closed door meeting among Congressional Republicans on Obamacare.

The lawmakers were debating a proposal that would exclude members of Congress and their staff from a part of Obamacare that requires them to engage in federal health care exchanges. A number of lawmakers complained that participating in the exchanges would be costly. Gingrey, according to NR, stood up and said that Congressional aides “may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street.”

“Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year,” he added.

In a followup phone interview with National Review Gingrey told the conservative magazine that he did not remember making the comments. The Georgia congressman said his point was that “it is completely unfair for members of Congress and Hill staffers to get this special treatment that the general public are not getting.”

Gingrey added that he “was engaged in a dialogue with some members of our conference who truly believe that Congress should get special treatment. And some also believe that staff members should get special treatment. I happen not to believe that.”