H/t: Think Progress
In a crazy campaign season, who’s craziest of all? The Daily Beast, using its Election Oracle and 9 other factors, discovers the 15 Senate candidates scoring highest on our new Wingnut Index.
Somehow, 2010 has turned out to be the year of the Wingnut. An unprecedented array of far out—and mostly far-right—candidates have won closed partisan primaries and now have a real shot at entering the nation’s most deliberative body—the Senate. But how can we quantify the crazy?
In the spirit of rankings that determine candidates’ ideological or special-interest adherence, we have come up with our own Wingnut Index as a way of measuring the extremism of Senate candidates this year. (Subsequent rankings of congressional and gubernatorial candidates will be coming every Monday until the election.) The 15 Senate candidates who earned enough points to grab top slots on the Wingnut Index reflect roughly one-quarter of the total candidates running this year—a fair measure of the extremes’ influence on our politics today.
In the 10 areas measured, we have reached for binary criteria whenever possible, such as whether the candidate subscribes to the conspiracy theories of being a “birther” or a 9/11 truther, or whether they have compared their political opponents to either Nazis or communists. Evidence of either Bush Derangement Syndrome or Obama Derangement Syndrome was included in the general category of fearmongering.
Hyper-partisan, special-interest-driven voting records were taken into account when possible—for example, candidates who received a 100 percent rating from the Family Research Council or a 100 percent rating from what could be considered their opposite interest group on the left, the AFS ratings by the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees. (In the interest of full disclosure, Barbara Boxer’s 99 rating was rounded up for inclusion.)
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sought on Sunday to quickly and clearly distance the Republican Party from a GOP candidate whose past participation in Nazi re-enactments surfaced this weekend.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Cantor (the lone Jewish Republican in the House) said he “would absolutely repudiate” Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Ohio’s 9th District who apparently had an affinity for donning a German Waffen SS uniform.
“What we have got now is a new crop of young leaders energized to go to Washington for the right reasons,” said Cantor. “Now Debbie [Wasserman Schultz, Cantor's co-panelist] went and launched into her attacks as to some of the reports about candidates that are running, particular the one in Ohio having to do with Nazi re-enactment. She knows that I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual who would do something like that.”
At this point Wasserman Schultz urged Cantor to actually articulate his repudiation. “I’m doing it right here,” he replied. “I’m doing it right here Debbie. You know good well that I don’t support anything like that.”
Iott’s past involvement in Nazi re-enactments, first reported by The Atlantic, may well constitute the largest discomfiture for the Republican Party in a cycle in which a number of candidates have done or said discomforting things. The Ohio Republican has defended himself by insisting his participation in the events was done for “purely historical interest in World War II.” But the defense has done little to assuage GOP leadership. Once listed on the Republican Party’s site of “Contenders” (a ranking/prioritization of candidates that was just below the “Young Guns”), Iott’s name was removed altogether once the photos of him surfaced.
The Democrat in the race, incumbent Marcy Kaptur, already seemed likely to hold the seat. Iott’s quick sink seems likely to seal the deal.
Ok progressives and liberals, they are strating to bring out their heavy artillery in an effort to take down the Democratic leadership in the House and possibly the Senate. It’s time to put away our attitudes about the Obama administration ignoring us and do what we have to do to keep our guys in power.
With the incendiary claim that the Obama presidency is the greatest threat the American people have ever faced, Newt Gingrich has launched a massively funded effort to mobilize ten million conservative voters this November. In an online video promoting the “Power of 10” campaign by his American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF) 527 group, Gingrich rails against the “genuinely radical, secular socialist machine” of the “Obama-Pelosi-Reid team” who “simply run over the beliefs and values of the American people.” Images of Tea Party rallies and the right-wing enemies list — Michael Moore, Sean Penn, and Katie Couric — scroll by as Gingrich pleads for “we the American people” to “go all out”:
You know, I don’t remember any time in American history where we had such a threat to our basic way of life: A genuinely radical, secular socialist machine ramming things through with no regard for American values or the beliefs of the American people
- Newt Gingrich Backs Carl Paladino’s “Battle Cry” (mediaite.com)
- Gingrich doubles down, accuses President of being anti-American (dailykos.com)
- Rick Horowitz: Gingrich Again, but Louder (huffingtonpost.com)
- Newt Gingrich on Obama the “Kenyan anti-colonial” con man (salon.com)
- Gingrich demands legislation to address imaginary threat (washingtonmonthly.com)
“…Americans aren’t ready for solutions…”??? WTF is Boehner on? America is anxiously waiting for solutions for the economic crisis, especially jobs, housing, and taxes for the middle class.
Mr. Boehner, may I ask, “What color is the sky on YOUR planet?
Since its release last week, House Republicans have been touting their “Pledge To America” as a bold policy vision to solve the nation’s problems, which they would enact if they gain a majority after the November elections. However, revealing the pledge to be nothing more than regurgitated rhetoric that ignores critical issues, even conservative critics have slammed it as “meaningless stuff” that fails on “advocacy of long term sound public policy.”
Today on Fox News Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) seemed to concede this point. When host Chris Wallace noted that the Pledge does not even address entitlement spending such as Social Security and Medicare, Boehner countered by saying that its purpose is only to “lay out the size of the problem,” rather than “to get to potential solutions.” This, of course, flies in the face of GOP branding of the proposal, but Boehner explained that he doesn’t think the American people can handle his ideas right now, saying, “Once Americans understand how big the problem is, then we can begin to talk about potential solutions”:
WALLACE: Congressman Boehner, as Willie Sutton said about banks, entitlements are where the money is. More than 40% of the budget. Yet, I’ve looked through this pledge and there is not one single proposal to cut social security, medicare, medicaid.
BOEHNER: Chris, we make it clear in there that we’re going to lay out a plan to work toward a balanced budget and deal with the entitlement crisis. Chris, it’s time for us as americans to have an adult conversation with each other about the serious challenges our country faces. And we can’t have that serious conversation until we lay out the size of the problem. Once Americans understand how big the problem is, then we can begin to talk about potential solutions. [...]
WALLACE: Forgive me, sir, isn’t the right time to have the adult conversation now before the election when you have this document? Why not make a single proposal to cut social security, medicare and medicaid?
BOEHNER: Chris, this is what happens here in washington. When you start down that path, you just invite all kind of problems. I know. I’ve been there. I think we need to do this in a more systemic way and have this conversation first. Let’s not get to the potential solutions. Let’s make sure americans understand how big the problem is. Then we can talk about possible solutions and then work ourselves into those solutions that are doable.
The GOP has released their new “contract for America” entitled “Pledge to America”. Here is a look at what some of the news outlets are saying:
The new “Pledge to America” is unlikely to inspire the nation, but Republicans will win big in November even without a coherent, forward-looking platform.
The “Pledge to America,” circulated to GOP lawmakers Wednesday, emphasizes job creation and spending control, as well as changing the way Congress does business. It steered clear of controversial issues such as Social Security and Medicare, big drivers of deficit spending.
Tonight, CNN contributor Erick Erickson of RedState, The Republican’s answer to the Daily Kos and its founder Markos Moulitsas just tore apart and ripped into shreds the House GOP’s new plan to be unveiled tomorrow… “Pledge To America.” This is the GOP’s pathetic attempt to recapture Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract With America” which failed miserably and has been aptly renamed “Contract On America.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/…
Republican ‘Pledge to America': Spending caps, tax cuts…
Even Joe Scarborough had to ask what was Newt Gingrich’s problem? Gingrich’s latest attack against Barack Obama surprised a lot of people. Some pundits think that the attack on Obama will be Gingrich’s meme for the 2012 race. However, they feel that for now, it’s simply the former speaker of the house pandering to the growing fringe base of the Republican party.
Gingrich on Obama’s “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”
Gingrich: Obama is engaged in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.” On September 12, Gingrich reportedly told National Review Online that Obama has pretended to be “normal” but actually seems to be engaged in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”.
Gingrich compares Islamic center to Nazis erecting a sign near Holocaust Museum and to a Japanese site near Pearl Harbor. On the August 16 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Newt Gingrich said, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There’s no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.”
Gingrich smears Sotomayor as a “racist.” ABC’s Jake Tapper and Huma Khan reported on May 27, 2009, that Gingrich had written on Twitter: “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman’ new racism is no better than old racism” and “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.” Gingrich later said that he didn’t know whether Sotomayor herself was a racist, but her quote about a wise Latina was “clearly racist.” [...]
Gingrich: Bilingual education teaches “the language of living in a ghetto.” An April 1, 2007, Associated Press article reported that Gingrich described bilingual education as teaching “the language of living in a ghetto” and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages [...]
Gingrich: Poor blacks fail to acquire wealth partly because of their “habits.” A June 16, 1995, Washington Post article reported that Gingrich, in a discussion with black journalists, stated that the failure of poor black people to acquire wealth was in part due to their “habits.” From the Post article [...]
Gingrich on women in combat: Women would have trouble staying in ditches “because they get infections;” “males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.” A January 19, 1995, New York Times article reported on concerns about women in military combat roles that Gingrich had raised while teaching a history course at Georgia’s Reinhardt College. The Times reported that Gingrich told his students that “females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections, and they don’t have upper body strength,” and added that men “are basically little piglets; you drop them in a ditch, they roll around in it.” [...]
- Newt Gingrich: ‘Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior’ Is Model for Obama [Polidicks] (gawker.com)
- Newt Gingrich says something that makes us wince (shortformblog.com)
- Robert Gibbs Says Newt Gingrich’s Slam of Obama Appeals ‘to the Fringe’ (politicsdaily.com)
- Robert Gibbs On Newt Gingrich’s ‘Kenyan’ Comments: He’s Trying To Appeal To Birthers (huffingtonpost.com)
- Newt Gingrich: Obama’s ‘Kenyan, Anti-Colonial’ Worldview Rules America (politicsdaily.com)
So, the Republicans have figured out an election strategy.
It can’t be the economy, because they’re already getting the full benefit of the Obama economic recovery program’s shortcomings, and too much focus on the recovery would necessitate a focus on why a recovery was even necessary; and the electorate hasn’t forgotten who is most to blame.
It can’t be corporate corruption, because the Republicans are wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporate plutocracy, and have opposed any Democratic attempts at regulation or forced responsibility.
It can’t be the environmental awareness that has awakened in the aftermath of the BP oil disaster, because criticizing the president necessarily leads to questions of an alternative response, and the Republican alternative of doing even less is not going to lead to more votes.
Unemployment is out, because the Republicans don’t want to help the unemployed.
Health care doesn’t work, because the Republicans don’t want health care to work, and repealing the president’s health care plan would start the whole mess all over again; and nobody wants to start the whole mess all over again.
So, the Republicans want to make the planned Islamic center and mosque that would be built sort of near Ground Zero into a nationwide campaign theme. And never mind that it has nothing to do with national politics. And more specifically, never mind the pain and suffering it inflicts on innocents who already have endured far too much pain and suffering. Certain Democrats deserve condemnation for their own efforts at playing politics with a bigotry that deserves scorn and vilification, and the best advice for elected Democrats has been that repeatedly offered by Big Tent Democrat: stop talking about it; but the Republicans aren’t merely floundering around trying to sound nuanced and wise while at best only embarrassing themselves, they’re deliberately exploiting the worse devils of human nature. Continue reading…
First Rachel Maddow puts Dick Armey in his place, now Michigan Democratic Governor, Jennifer Granholm gets her turn…
As ThinkProgress noted, former House Speaker Dick Armey laid out a plan this week that would effectively dismantle Social Security and Medicare “as you know it” by privatizing a large portion of these critical social safety net programs. On Meet the Press today, Armey and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) discussed a different Republican plan to privatize and dismantle the social safety net, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “Roadmap for America’s Future.” Granholm calls Ryan’s plan “far outside the mainstream,” noting that 85 percent of Americans don’t want to cut Social Security to solve the deficit.” Armey responds by laughing, claiming that “no one is talking about dismantling these systems:”
You know, there is a real possibility that the GOP might regain control of the House after the mid-term election. As we’ve heard pundits say many times in the last few months, the party in power usually loses a significant number of seats in both the house and the senate. However, there doesn’t seem to be a problem with Dems holding on to the senate, at this time.
This is my point: Yesterday, someone on Meet The Press said that if the GOP should in fact win back majority of the house, they will actually have no plans for legislating anything. All they did the past 18 months is filibuster, stall and say no to most legislative initiatives brought to the floor by Dems. Personally, my world will not end if those clowns take control. It will be a pleasure watching them scramble to write laws and “repeal” Health Care Reform”.
1. “The Change You Deserve”
This one goes back more than two years, when the slim Democratic majority in Congress was going toe-to-toe on a daily basis with the Bush administration, and Republicans were in free fall. Republican leadership created a new message: Change You Deserve. “Through our ‘Change You Deserve’ message and through our ‘American Families Agenda,’ House Republicans will continue our efforts to speak directly to an American public looking for leaders who will offer real solutions for the challenges they confront every day,” read a memo sent to Republican House members at the time.
Sadly, it turned out, “Change You Deserve” was the registered marketing slogan for the antidepressant Effexor XR. Republicans were pummeled in a landslide election later that year.
2. Hip Hop GOP LOL
Maybe Michael Steele felt sorry for his allies on the Hill after their failures. Or maybe he thought it would be better if the hounds of mockery chased him instead of elected officials. Whatever the reason, he too took a stab at creating a new GOP. Maybe he should have called it GOP two-point-baller. “We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles,” Steele told the Washington Times. “But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”
“It will be avant garde, technically,” he posited. “It will come to the table with things that will surprise everyone – off the hook.” For good measure: “I don’t do ‘cutting-edge.’ That’s what Democrats are doing. We’re going beyond cutting-edge.” And then he stomped off to take cool pictures with his interns.
3. Cantor’s Comeback?
If at first you don’t succeed, try the exact same thing over again without making any changes. Or so the saying apparently goes in House Republican Caucus meetings. After “Change You Deserve” died, and Obama swept into office, Republicans created a new initiative last Spring: The National Council for a New America. NCNA was the brainchild of Eric Cantor — long engaged in a leadership struggle with Minority Leader John Boehner — meant to counter the Democrats’ “party of no” mantra. One ingredient that may have spoiled that effort: Republicans continued voting no on everything.
Another spoiler? It may have violated House ethics rules. NCNA was disbanded after about a year.
“It’s very simple,” said Rob Collins, Cantor’s former deputy chief of staff at the time. “The NCNA dominated the national media so effectively that liberals in and out of Congress — including [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] — attacked it.” Guess that’s why almost no one ever heard of it.
4. The Budget That Wasn’t
Nothing gets juices flowing in Washington like the yearly non-binding framework federal budget (which might be why other people think D.C. is boring). In March 2009, just after Obama took office, the Democrats put together an ambitious one. Not to be outdone, Republicans decided to draw up a plan of their own. Except what they unveiled — an 18-page glossy white paper of ideas with no actual budget numbers — made them the laughing stock of wonks and Democrats everywhere.
So shamtastic was the GOP “Road to Recovery” that it ignited semi-public infighting among GOP leadership over who was at fault. “In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan … I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas,” said one GOP aide.
5. The Budget That Might Have Been
What was that anonymous GOP aide talking about when he said leadership threw Paul Ryan, House Republicans’ top budget guy, under the bus? Ryan’s been something of a prop for the GOP: a policy man who they hold forth as an emblem of Republican thinking and big ideas — until those ideas come under scrutiny and they, well, throw him under the bus. Over the course of months, Ryan had put together a series of policy changes (tax and entitlement cuts, mostly) that he claimed would bring America into fiscal balance over the course of decades. A “Roadmap for America’s Future.”
His ambitious legislation made a splash when it was first unveiled: praised by conservatives, and held forth by Democrats as a serious but flawed Republican plan to slash Medicare. So Republicans ran away from it. Then experts took a look at it and concluded it would probably wreck the economy if it was ever enacted. So much for new ideas, and new faces.