Conservative Political Action Conference

Top Conservative: There Will Be No Major Economic Consequences To Shutdown Or Default

CPAC head Al Cardenas

Those selfish idiots in congress haven’t got a clue about how government works.  How did they ever get elected?  By even more clueless voters, no doubt.  

The guy in question is not a politician but he is very influential.  He heads up the conservative CPAC convention.

Think Progress

The Chairman of the one of the most influential right-wing organizations in the country suggested there’d be no serious economic harm done by a government shutdown or failure to raise the debt ceiling — despite a consensus among economists to the contrary.

Al Cardenas heads up the American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and produces an influential system for rating members of Congress’ ideological purity.

Cardenas expressed support for Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX)’s campaign to defund Obamacare, even at expense of shutting down the government or failing to raise the debt ceiling. ThinkProgress asked Cardenas what the costs of this strategy might be, and he suggested they’d be non-existent:

BEAUCHAMP: What would the consequences be either, first, of shutting down the government or, second, of potentially defaulting on the U.S. debt during the Obamacare fight?

CARDENAS: Well let’s make sure we keep this in historical perspective. We have shut down the government 17 times in the last 50 years. It sounds like it’s a radical idea and it’s the first time we’re contemplating it. It’s actually happened 17 times in America and nobody’s ever spoken about it in such radical terms as Democrats are. [...] If you hit the mark on October 1st, that doesn’t mean government shuts down. Usually you can pay all the bills for 12 or 13 more days. The only time you go into default is if you don’t pay the interest which is about $18 billion a month. We’ve got plenty of money to pay that. [...]

BEAUCHAMP: So you don’t believe there’d be any major economic consequences for a government shutdown or a default?

CARDENAS: I’m convinced there won’t be.

http://youtu.be/6yqAIqocQeM

Cardenas is right that shutdowns have happened in the past, but he’s wrong that they’ve been costless. The two shutdowns during the Clinton Administration cost us 0.5 percent of GDP worth of economic growth, and the costs of a shutdown this year are estimated to be roughly three times that($240 billion relative to the U.S.’ GDP in 2012). If the shutdown went on for around two months, it could “precipitate another recession.”

A default would, without question, be much worse. Though Cardenas suggested we’d be able to pay interest on the debt and avoid default, that’s flatly untrue: default means failing to pay someone you owe, and failing the debt ceiling would force us to do that. The potential consequences range from “destroy[ing] the market as we know it” to freezing “the central nervous system of the banking system.”

Cardenas is ideologically simpatico with Cruz and Lee and has professional ties with both. Cardenas and Cruz worked together on George W. Bush’s Florida recount legal team and Cardenas’ ACU was a strong supporter of Cruz’s insurgent primary campaign for Senate. Lee came to speak at the Missouri CPAC instead of remaining in DC to navigate the shutdown.

The ACU chairman isn’t the only prominent conservative to deny economic reality of late. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) told reporters to ignore economists’ warnings about the disastrous consequences of reaching the debt limit.

 

Is the GOP Sincere in Denouncing its Bigots?

Good question…

Alternet

There has been an outcry from some GOP members concerning GOP bigotry. But the sea change may be much less than meets the eye.

In a week’s time the wide range of what was once considered routine GOP bigotry was on full display. Dave Agema, a former West Michigan state representative, and Republican National Committeeman called gays “filthy homosexuals.” Next, Alaska Rep. Don Young blurted out the epitaph “wetbacks” in discussing the immigration issue. Then 23 members of the so-called White Student Union attended the Conservative Political Action Conference where its leader tacitly endorsed segregation and even slavery.

In times past, the silence from the GOP officials and rank and file would have been deafening. It would have reconfirmed the standard knock against the GOP as a party of Kooks, cranks misanthropes, and, of course, bigots. But in each of the three cases, there was an outcry from local GOP officials, bloggers, and GOP campus groups. They publicly denounced the bigotry, and in the case of Young, House Speaker John Boehner, Arizona and Texas Senators John McCain, and John Cornyn, and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus blasted Young’s remarks.

At first glance, this seems a signal that the GOP recognizes that it’s widely considered the party of bigotry, and that it’s willing to do something about it. But the sea change may be much less than meets the eye. Many top GOP officials are still mute on its party’s bigots. The official record still stands that no top GOP official aggressively and consistently denounces the bigoted remarks or acts by a GOP operative, representative, or senator.

The RNC in its near 100 page blueprint for reaching out to minorities, gays and young people did raise faint hope that the GOP may indeed have finally woke up that America is changing, and it can’t win national offices anymore solely with conservative white male Heartland and Deep South voters, or through the use of the crude race baiting. But this hope ignores the GOP’s horrible history of dealing with its blatant bigots and bigotry. The pattern was on ugly display in 2002 when then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott touched off a furor seemingly touting the one time pro-segregation battles fought by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. It took nearly a week for then President George W. Bush to make a stumbling, tepid disavowal of Lott.

In the next decade, a legion of Republican state and local officials, conservative talk show jocks and even some Republican bigwigs made foot-in-mouth racist cracks that invariably got them in hot water. Their response when called on the carpet was always the same: They make a duck and dodge denial, claim that they were misquoted or issue a weak, half-hearted apology. Each time, the response from top Republicans was either silence, or if the firestorm was great enough, to give the offender a much-delayed mild verbal hand slap. Lott was dumped from his Senate Majority Leader post, but soon got a top post back as Senate Minority Whip after a kind of, sort of mea culpa.

The bigger dilemma for the GOP when the bigots of their party pop off is that they remain prisoners of their party’s racist past. It’s a past in which Republican presidents set the tone with their own verbal race bashing. President Eisenhower never got out of the Old South habit of calling blacks “nigras.”

In an infamous and well-documented outburst at a White House dinner party in 1954, Ike winked, nodded and whispered to Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren that he understood why white Southerners wouldn’t want to “see their sweet little girls required to sit in school alongside some big black buck.”

Continue reading…

Slick, Paranoid Tea Party Video Aims for Violent Insurrection

Alternet

Fear walks the land, and the Tea Party Patriots are here to package and sell it.

Attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were reportedly thrilled by a short sci-fi video depicting a dictatorial near-future government and the underground “Movement on Fire” that springs up to resist it. The video, a thinly veiled advertisement for violent insurrection from the “Tea Party Patriots” group, boasts professional acting and Hollywood production values. But underneath its bright, professional sheen lurk dark overtones of End Times paranoia that will resonate with millions of American fundamentalists. Its apocalyptic imagery is as ancient as Revelations, its glossy look as modern as a Revlon ad, and its near-subliminal barrage of rapid-cut imagery rings with the terror-fueled sermons of 1,000 preachers.

Here’s the video:

It stands on its own as agitprop-cum-entertainment for the far right, which is filled with armchair revolutionaries whose favorite fantasies involve the same elements used in this video: attractive people, video-game-like locations, nightmarish bureaucracies and the world-changing power of their own oratory. “Let our lives be the spark that ignites the fire of liberty,” the protagonist shouts at one point. His words resonate with memories of historical heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice rather than yield to tyranny.

“I would so totally do that,” a right-wing fantasy rebel might mutter in response.

“We are a movement on fire!” the video’s hero shouts as a crowd cheers. “Will you take up the torch?” Absolutely, our viewer mumbles to himself … “Hey, I hear they’re serving free hors d’ouevres at the Pajamas Media booth….”

But this video’s imagery will have special resonance for American evangelicals who believe the End Times are near. “Movement on Fire” draws heavily on the so-called “Tribulation” films of the 1970s and 1980s. Among the earliest and best-known of these films are A Thief in the NightDistant ThunderImage of the Beast and The Prodigal Planet, all of which were made by Iowa-based Russell S. Doughten Jr.

Doughten’s previous film credits were limited to an associate producer credit forThe Blob (the original Steve McQueen version) and production duties for grindhouse productions The Hostage and Fever Heat. But Christian filmmaking proved to be his forte. Doughten’s website claims that “over six million have come to Christ through our motion pictures,” and while the figure can’t be independently verified, many Christians in their 30s and 40s recall being terrified by the films when they were young.

All but unknown outside evangelical circles, Doughten’s films became required viewing in many homes, religious schools, and churches. Other filmmakers soon followed in Doughten’s footsteps with films like Mark of the Beast and Years of the Beast.

Continue here…

Racist Hate Group To Conduct Nighttime Patrols On College Campus

Think Progress

White Student Union founder Matthew “Commander” Heimbach

A racist hate group at Towson University has announced plans to conduct its own nighttime police patrols on campus.

Founded last year, the White Student Union has stirred significant controversy already. The organization has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, its founder, Matthew Heimbach (who goes by the title “Commander Heimbach”), and fellow organizer Scott Terry interrupted a minority outreach panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month in order to defend slavery, noting that slaveholders provided blacks with food and shelter. Terry later told ThinkProgress that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa” and he’d be “fine” living in a society where blacks are permanently subservient to whites.

The Towerlight has more on the vigilante plan:

The controversial White Student Union has resurfaced on Towson’s campus with plans to conduct random nighttime patrols, which members say are for students’ protection.

Some members of the group, equipped with flashlights, will conduct on-campus safety walks, and female members will carry pepper spray in an attempt to protect students from various crimes like sexual assaults and robberies, WSU President Matthew Heimbach said. [...]

Heimbach said female members have also been enrolling in self-defense classes, and members have been going to local gun ranges as a group, but not in a “military way,” Heimbach said.

He said group members would carry no weapons on the nighttime walks.

One need look no further than the White Student Union’s blog to see why their vigilante operations could turn problematic. In a blog post last month entitled “Black Crime Wave Continues!“, the group writes:

The frequent robberies, sexual assaults, and acts of vandalism at Towson University are not often reported in the local media. For those who are not Towson students it seems hard to fathom that every single day black predators prey upon the majority white Towson University student body. White Southern men have long been called to defend their communities when law enforcement and the State seem unwilling to protect our people.

As a result, the post reads, “The WSU executive board has unanimously approved to make it mandatory for all female WSU members to begin taking some form of unarmed self defense training over the next month.”

Though no Towson faculty would sign on as a sponsor for the WSU, the administration allows the group to use university resources. As the group bragged in September 2012, it is “excited to report that it has taken one step closer toward becoming recognized by Towson University,” pointing to its profile on a university website.

 

Thursday Blog Roundup – 3-21-2013

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), 03/07/13

I’ll be busy with some appointments today and tomorrow, so I’ll be posting the Blog Roundup today and Friday…

This is Pretty Epic
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Stimulus Derangement Syndrome
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An Introduction to American Politics
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Video: The amazing disappearing tea party
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Obama in Ramallah for talks with Palestinians
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — President Barack Obama is in the West Bank for brief meet..

Colo. Corrections Dept. chief shot, killed at home
MONUMENT, Colo. (AP) — In the weeks before Colorado’s top prisons official was fatal..

What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013
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RNC and friends: Let’s hide our crazy from American people
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Right-Wing Media Downplay Spending Cuts, Then Blast Obama For Inflicti..
After downplaying the effects of the government spending cuts known as seq..

REPORT: Kids Ingest Potentially Poisonous Medication 500,000 Times Per..
According to a new report by the children’s medical safety advocacy group Safe Kids ..

 

 

Bachmann Accuses Obama Of Living A Life Of Excess

Michelle Bachmann at CPAC 2013

What color is the sky on Michele Bachmann’s planet?  She is trying so hard to be relevant but fails at every attempt.

In the following clip she talks about the Obamas’ excessive spending (to the tune of $1.8 billion a year) overlooking the fact that each president is allowed a personal budget for himself and his family every year.

Think Progress

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) criticized President Obama’s so-called life of excess at the White House, arguing that the first family is living rich on the taxpayer’s dime as the nation faces sequestration and large deficits.

In one of her first major addresses since winning a close re-election bid in November, the Tea Party favorite conceded during her address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday that Obama and his family “deserve to live in the White House,” before listing “the perks and the excess of the $1.4 billion presidency that we’re paying for”:

BACHMANN: And this is a lifestyle that is one of excess. Now we find out that there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater. They regularly sleep in the White House in order to be readily available in case the first family wants a really really late show. And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button? We are also the ones who are paying to walk the president’s dog. Paying for someone to walk the president’s dog. Now why are we doing that when we can’t even get a disabled veteran into the White House for a White House tour?

Watch it:

Obama has actually one of the lowest net worths of any American president, and has less wealth than Republicans like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Bachmann and her husband Marcus have also done well for themselves and have an estimated net worth of between $1.3 million and $2.8 million.

Bachmann, meanwhile, has faced criticism for refusing to pay $5,000 to five staffers from her failed presidential bid, even though she has more than $2 million in her campaign account.

Rick Perry: Immigrant Release Is A ‘Federally Sponsored Jailbreak’

Texas Governor Rick Perry at CPAC 2013

CPAC has begun its annual parade of Tea Party fanatics bashing President Obama and his policies…

TPM LiveWire

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington on Thursday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry decried immigration authorities for releasing several hundred detainees in response to sequester cuts.

President Obama’s handling of the sequester “would be laughable if he hadn’t taken it one step too far, dangerously releasing criminals onto our streets to make a political point,” he said. “When you have a federally sponsored jailbreak, –and don’t get confused that’s exactly what this is, a federally sponsored jailbreak — you cross the line from politics as spin to politics as a craven form of cynicism where everything goes.”

White House officials say the decision was made by ICE independently. Many detainees are not held on criminal grounds and Immigration officials say they only released low risk individuals, not anyone who was required to be held for serious charges.

 

Is Chris Christie finished in the GOP?

Chris Christie: Persona non grata at CPAC.

If one defines the Tea Party as the GOP, then there’s a sure bet that Chris Christie is in fact toast.  However, if the less severe conservative members of Congress and the Senate were to embrace Governor Christie and his policies, then the Governor doesn’t have a problem.

The Week

The popular New Jersey governor angers conservatives — again — by announcing he’ll go along with ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, still in the GOP dog house for saying nice things about President Obama’s handling of Super-storm Sandy mere days before the November election, angered conservative critics once again this week by announcing that he would expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. The news came as the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual enclave of the nation’s conservatives, said they didn’t invite Christie to this year’s gathering because he has a “limited future” in the Republican Party, in part because of his backing of gun-control legislation, which is toxic to many conservatives.

Christie had criticized Obama’s expansion of Medicaid, but his reversal “was a political no-brainer for a politician running for re-election in a blue state,” say Maggie Haberman and David Nather at Politico. Christie may find it to be a pyrrhic victory, though, as this could make CPAC’s prediction more likely to come true. Last year, Christie was a featured speaker at CPAC and a rising GOP star widely considered to have presidential potential. Even if he coasts to another term in his home state, as expected, his warming to this key provision of ObamaCare could sabotage his chances of becoming one of the party’s national standard bearers.

CPAC, for its part, says Christie just isn’t a real conservative. And that kind of assessment often spells defeat for many primary candidates in today’s GOP. Much of the right sees Christie’s Medicaid maneuver as “just one more deal breaker in a series,” says Jill Lawrence at National Journal. He praised Obama after Hurricane Sandy. “He thinks climate change is real. Also he has a man crush on Bruce Springsteen, the Democrats’ go-to entertainer to fire up crowds before elections.” Still, Republicans should think twice before tossing him aside.

Christie, saddled with his Northeastern pragmatism and — the horror — extending health insurance to tens of thousands, will be a non-starter in 2016 if the political climate is the same then as it is now.

The irony is that Christie has a record 74 percent approval rating in his blue state, and 71 percent of his constituents think he deserves to be re-elected. That suggests broad appeal and a national future — but only if his party figures out how to embrace rather than shun people like him. [National Journal]

With all the flak Christie is taking, it’s tough to argue with CPAC’s assessment of his future, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Then again, this feuding might not hurt him in the long run. One of the biggest beefs fiscal conservatives have with Christie was his “cheap, demagogic” battle with the House GOP over uncorking Sandy relief funds. Conservatives think they’re going to chasten him by keeping him at arm’s length over this, but they’re probably really just “doing him an incredible political favor.”

Sandy relief is the biggest reason why his approval rating in Jersey is upwards of 75 percent; it’s likely also the biggest reason he polls well nationally even with Democrats at the moment. His whole post-Sandy nonpartisan brand is built on the idea that he’s less ideological and just more goshdarned caring than those heartless conservatives in the GOP congressional caucus. And now here’s CPAC proclaiming that, indeed, his Sandy relief support is cause for (temporary) banishment from conservatism. He’ll be crowing about it for weeks. It’s practically an in-kind contribution to his gubernatorial campaign. [Hot Air]

And when it comes to Medicaid expansion, Christie is not the only Republican rolling the dice. He’s joining seven other Republican governors — so far — who have chosen to go along with the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to get health-care coverage for many of their uninsured constituents. How that plays out for them politically depends on how many other governors go along, says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post.

The remaining question is: Will Republican governors pay any price in national politics for accepting Medicaid expansion? For any governor who has national ambitions, the hope has to be that the expansion rapidly shifts from a betrayal of Republican principles to something that almost all the states are doing. Otherwise, it’s almost certainly going to be a weapon used against them. [Washington Post]

Tuesday Blog Roundup – 2-26-2013

Twins via Shutterstock.

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GOP Lawmaker Says Cheney Will Go to Hell
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Obama to govs: Push Congress to avert automatic cuts
Against a backdrop of impending automatic budget cuts, President Barack Obama on Mond..

Video: Christie snub: Why the NJ gov. won’t be invited to CPAC
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not on the guest list for the Conservative Politica..

‘You got your tax increase,’ Boehner tells Obama as sequester staring ..
The nation’s capital was enveloped in a familiar kind of gridlock late Monday, as Re..

Jack Nicholson crashes “Best Actress” Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence’s..
Nicholson: “You look like an old girlfriend of mine.” Lawrence: “Do I look like a new..

Indiana Senate Candidate: Obama Deserves All Blame For Bad Economy, No Credit For Its Improvement

I have to ask, is there an extra chromosome that conservatives have?  I mean honestly, is there a “stupid” gene that they possess  in which we progressives are thankfully, not privy to?

Think Progress

Since President Obama took office in January 2009, Republicans have been quick to heap blame on him for every bit of poor economic news, no matter how large or small. In recent months, however, with jobs numbers improving and signs that the economy is rebounding becoming more evident, the same Republicans haven’t been as quick to praise the president.

Richard Mourdock, the insurgent Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who is locking in a primary contest against Sen. Richard Lugar (R), took a similar tack this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, telling ThinkProgress that while Obama’s policies were responsible for making the economy worse early in his term, the recent improvement has occurred in spite of Obama’s policies:

KEYES: If the economy does continue to improve over the next few months, is that something you’d be willing to give President Obama credit for, or not?

MOURDOCK: The American economy is incredibly resilient because Americans are incredibly resilient. It won’t be because of President Obama when we see recovery, it will be in spite of President Obama. He wants to add more and more layers of government, more and more government sector unions. Those are killing our economy. And while it’s possible we might see some recovery, it would be doing a whole lot more if we were rolling back the size of government.

The Mourdock stance is common in the GOP — presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a similar view following the January jobs report, as did House Speaker John Boehner.

The facts, however, tell a different story. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, despite Republican claims, has been a success, and since its implementation, the economy has added jobs for 23 consecutive months. The auto bailout, another favorite Republican target, hasalso worked, saving thousands of jobs and returning American automakers to profitability for the first time in a decade.

If anything, the economy is improving in spite of the best efforts of the Republicans Mourdock is trying to join in Congress. Republicans have targeted positive economic programs that benefit the less fortunate — like food stamps and unemployment insurance — for spending cuts, all while blocking other Obama proposals — like the American Jobs Act — that experts say would have had a positive effect on the nation’s economic recovery.