GOP

Immigration is still a huge problem for Republicans

The Washington Post – Greg Sargent

A new narrative seems to be taking hold: Obama’s delay of executive action on deportations — and the backlash it has sparked from enraged advocates — shows the politics of immigration are now perilous for Democrats. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, claims that it shows immigration is a “toxic” issue for Dems as well as Republicans.

That’s true in the short term, but the big picture matters more. And that big picture is this: If Obama does something reasonably ambitious on deportations after the elections, it will very likely restore the larger political dynamic that has been taking shape all year, in which Republicans continue to solidify their image as hostile and unwelcoming to Latinos and Democrats continue to establish theirs as the pro-immigration party.

As I’ve detailed here, Senate Democrats decided, for a range of reasons, that any action on deportations now could imperil their already-tenuous chances of holding the Senate. But the flip-side of this is that after the elections are over, all of the political incentives for Democrats will be flowing in the opposite direction — that is, Dems will stand to benefit politically across the board from ambitious executive action.

There are a number of reasons for this. Democrats have an interest in seeing this happen just before the GOP presidential primary, because it makes it more likely the GOP candidates will out-demagogue one another in calling for Obama’s protections from deportation for millions to be rolled back, pulling the GOP field to the right of Mitt Romney’s “self deportation” stance in 2012. Beyond the debate over the propriety of executive action, Republicans continue to deepen their opposition to theenforcement priorities underlying Obama’s coming action — they haveboxed themselves into a place where they are inescapably calling for enforcement resources to be directed back towards maximizing the deportation of low-level offenders with longtime ties to communities.

What’s more, even as Republicans cling to increasingly toxic positions among Latinos, Dems would presumably stand to benefit in the 2016 general election if the Democratic Party reestablishes — and strengthens — its bond with Latinos, which ambitious executive action would do. Also, asCook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy has noted, some of the 2016 DemSenate candidates will be running in states with increasing Latino vote shares, amid a presidential year electorate. They too might benefit from action, which conceivably could help Dems increase their majority or recapture it if they lose it this year.

It’s still unclear how far-reaching Obama’s action — which will presumably depend on what the administration determines is legally possible — will turn out to be. But unlike now, the political incentives will all point in the direction of doing something ambitious. Indeed, I suspect one reason advocates are beating the heck out of Obama over his delay right now is to raise the price of reestablishing good relations with activists and Latinos, on the understanding that the President will see that so doing carries great political rewards over the long term. Some advocates fear that if Republicans take the Senate, Obama may punt once again. But it’s also quite possible, given that the political incentives favor “going big” no matter who controls the Senate, that advocates may get their way soon enough.

None of this is to minimize the current anger advocates feel about Obama’s delay. The White House did mishandle the issue by promising action at the end of the summer (though Senate Dems did hamstring Obama by also suggesting the President follow a timetable). The human toll of the delaywill be far-reaching and very real.

However, this issue may end up unfolding just as the gay rights debate did. Gay advocates were deeply frustrated for years with Obama, particularly over his slow evolution on gay marriage. But Obama ended up compiling a very good record on gay civil rights. The result: Gay rights is one of many issues where the Democratic Party has continued to reshape itself around the cultural priorities of an emerging coalition that is giving it a built-in advantage in national elections. As Ron Brownstein has explained:

Combined, these confrontations are stamping the GOP as what I’ve called a “Coalition of Restoration” primarily representing older, white, religiously devout, and nonurban voters who fear that hurtling change is undermining traditional American values. Democrats in turn are championing a younger, more urbanized, diverse, and secular “Coalition of Transformation” that welcomes the evolution in America’s racial composition and cultural mores.

As Obama struggles through his second term, it’s clear one of his signal legacies will be cementing the Democrats’ connection with that coalition’s cultural priorities. It’s easy to imagine Hillary Clinton or another future Democratic presidential nominee offering more centrist fiscal or foreign policies than Obama. But on cultural issues Obama has led his party across a Rubicon…The party’s deepening embrace of cultural liberalism may make it tougher for it to hold some red-state House and Senate seats, but is improving its position with the cosmopolitan states and growing demographic groups that key its presidential majority.

If Obama’s actions on deportations is reasonably ambitious, it seems likely that this broader dynamic will remain in force when it comes to immigration and Latinos, too — whatever current political problems Democrats have run into right now.

GOP’s Obamacare Nightmare Is Coming True: It’s Working

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AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

TPMDC

The politics of the health care law have undergone a sea change since its disastrous rollout last fall, when many conservative operatives were salivating at the prospect of a GOP wave in the midterm elections due to an Obamacare “train wreck.”

But the train never wrecked. The law rebounded, surpassing its signups goal and withstanding a flurry of attacks. The issue seems to have mostly lost its power as a weapon against Democrats, and a growing number of Republican governors — even in conservative states — are warming to a core component of Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion.

To get a sense of why this is worrying for Republicans in the long run, look no further than conservative strategist Bill Kristol’s 1993 memo — “Defeating President Clinton’s Health Care Proposal” — warning that reform would paint Democrats as “the generous protector of middle-class interests” and strike a “punishing blow” to the GOP’s anti-government ideology.

“But the long-term political effects of a successful Clinton health care bill will be even worse — much worse. It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for ‘security’ on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government,” Kristol wrote.

In other words, the real fear back then was that health care reform would succeed.

Two decades later, Kristol’s prophecy is haunting Republicans. Obamacare has provided a lifeline by providing coverage to 8 million people on the exchanges, 7 million under Medicaid expansion and 5 million who bought insurance outside the exchanges but benefit from new regulations like the coverage guarantee for individuals with preexisting conditions. Even Republicans in deeply conservative states are suggesting that the popular new benefits cannot be taken away, even if the Obamacare brand still struggles.

The shift has been crystallized in contentious Senate races this fall. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently signaled that Kentuckians benefiting from the state’sObamacare exchange and Medicaid expansion should be able to keep their coverage. Senate GOP candidates Joni Ernst of Iowa, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Scott Brown of New Hampshire and Terri Lynn Land of Michigan have all refused to call for rolling back Medicaid expansion in their states. The number of television ads attacking the law have plummeted in key battleground states since April, and now even vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas is touting his vote for protecting Americans with preexisting conditions under Obamacare.

But even if the Obamacare attacks are fading, Republicans remain poised to make gains in the midterms due to a variety of structural advantages. They continue to oppose Obamacare as a whole, and point out that Americans still react negatively when asked about the law.

“Ensuring that people with preexisting conditions have access to coverage has long been a popular policy, and one where there is bipartisan agreement. It’s the the entirety of ObamaCare that remains EXTREMELY unpopular,” Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, told TPM in an email.

Conservative health-policy experts have argued that Obamacare cannot be repealed without a viable alternative to fix broken parts of the system, but Republicans have failed to come up with one that the party can unite behind.

These are signs that Obamacare is weaving into the fabric of American culture and that the dream of repealing or unwinding it is fading. The massive health care industry is adapting to the post-Obamacare world and fears of double-digit hikes in premiums are fading: early datasuggest the prices for benchmark “silver” plans in 2015 are poised to decline slightly.

“We don’t yet have data for all states, but from these 15 states plus DC I think we can start to see a pattern emerging,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said in an email. “In general, changes in premiums for the low-cost plans in the marketplaces are quite modest, and actually decreasing in many places.”

Stability in premiums means “government costs for premium subsidies … are under control, which is good news for taxpayers,” Levitt said.

In the courts, an ongoing conservative lawsuit to cripple Obamacare suffered a major setbacklast week when a federal appeals court vacated a ruling that would have blocked subsidies in 36 states. Legal experts say the full court is likely to uphold the subsidies when a panel with a majority of Democratic-appointed judges re-hears the case.

For Democrats, the dream scenario was that Obamacare would eventually join Social Security and Medicare as an unassailable feature of the American safety net. Like those other major programs, Obamacare won’t be without its share of problems — cost uncertainties for automatically-renewed plans among them. But after more than 50 House votes to repeal or dismantle the law, few could have predicted that Republicans would start warming up to central pieces of the law within a year of its rollout.

(Photos by the Associated Press)

House Candidate Called Female Senators “Undeserving Bimbos in Tennis Shoes”

Hagedorn for Congress/Facebook

During the run up to the mid-term elections for 2010 some GOP candidates made so many controversial statements that they were simply deemed un-electable by most politcal analysts.  Their constituents felt the same .  They included Senate candidates Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller of Alaska.  All were sidelined because of public faux pas and simply not knowing enough about politics to get elected.

Looks like the 2014 mid-term races might have a few crazies as well…

Mother Jones

Statement was from Jim Hagedorn’s old blog, “Mr. Conservative,” is a ticking time bomb.

Republican congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn could face a major obstacle in his race to unseat Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz: conservative blogger Jim Hagedorn.

Hagedorn, the son of retired congressman Tom Hagedorn, was a surprise victor in last Tuesday’s GOP primary. But he brings some serious baggage to his race against Walz, a four-term incumbent. In posts from his old blog, Mr. Conservative, unearthed by the now-defunct Minnesota Independent, Hagedorn made light of American Indians, President Obama’s Kenyan ancestry, and female Supreme Court justices, among others, in ways many voters won’t appreciate.

Hagedorn deleted many of his old posts prior to his 2010 run for Walz’s seat—he lost in the GOP primary. But some of his writings can still be found via the Internet Archive or in screenshots taken by the Independent. These were not mere juvenile ramblings, either: Hagedorn was a Treasury Department official at the time.

“Turns out half-aunt Zeituni is an illegal alien from Kenya who has illegally contributed money to her half-nephew’s campaign, which should make Americans half-pi$$ed,” he wrote in a typical missive during the 2008 election cycle. “The migration from Barack Obama’s second country to the United States during the next four years is going to look like a low-budget remake of Eddie Murphy’s hit comedy ‘Coming to America.'”

Hagedorn also reveled in the type of gay innuendo you may have heard in high school courtyards in decades past. (Kids these days know better.) He referred to former Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl as an “alleged switch-hitter” and a “packer.” Former GOP candidate Mike Taylor, the target of a homophobic attack ad during his campaign against then-Sen. Max Baucus,came out even worse: “[T]he ad really bent Taylor over with rage and caused him to go straight to the bar and get lubricated,” Hagedorn wrote. “It must have taken all Taylor’s power to refrain from fisting…err…using his fists on Max Baucus, or at the very least ream him inside and out.”

In an entry on the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which ruled that state bans on sodomy were unconstitutional, he wrote: “Butt (sic) never have winners lost so dearly. The Court’s voyage into uncharted, untreated cultural bathhouse waters was designed to offer a gentle push from behind…to generate a small skip forward for the pink triangle class…to throw them a bone, so to speak.”

Lest anyone challenge his bona fides, Hagedorn wanted to make abundantly clear he was a straight white male. “Senator McCain’s campaign was all but flat lined before he brought the feisty Caribou Barbie into our living rooms,” he wrote in 2008. “Which reminds me, on behalf of all red-blooded American men: THANK YOU SENATOR McCAIN, SARAH’S HOT!”

Not all female politicians were viewed as favorably. In a 2002 post, Hagedorn referred to Washington Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray as “undeserving bimbos in tennis shoes.” Former Bush White House counsel Harriet Miers, he wrote in 2005, had been nominated “to fill the bra of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”

Writing about now-Sen. John Thune’s race against Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, Hagedorn turned his razor-sharp wit on America’s most coddled demographic—Native Americans. “The race has been highlighted by a Democrat drive to register voters in several of several of South Dakota’s expansive redistribution of wealth centers…err…casino parlors…err…Indian reservations. Remarkably, many of the voters registered for absentee ballots were found to be chiefs and squaws who had returned to the spirit world many moons ago.” Alleging that fake votes from Indians would provide the margin of victory, he echoed “John Wayne’s wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian.”

Hagedorn may have been joking. (The quip’s real author, General Philip Sheridan, wasn’t.) But American Indians were a favorite punching bag over at Mr. Conservative. In that same post, he referred to Nevada as a land of “nuclear waste and thankless Indians.” What made the state’s Native American population thankless? Hagedorn didn’t say.

Democrats seized on some of the Mr. Conservativepostings during Hagedorn’s brief 2009 foray, prompting him to slip into damage control mode. “I understand that some of the folks on the left aren’t going to like what I write,” he told the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “I poke fun at everybody, including Republicans.”

Although Walz’s district went to Barack Obama by less than 2 points in 2012, the incumbent has faced a string of less-than-stellar opponents. Allen Quist, the GOP’s 2012 nominee, crafted a school science curriculum contending that humans coexisted with dinosaurs. Aaron Miller, the Iraq War vet who was picked to run against Walz at the district nominating convention but lost in the primary, stated that he was motivated to run for office because his daughter had been forced to learn evolution in public schools. And now Hagedorn.

It looks like Tim Walz might be staying in Washington a little bit longer.

KRUGMAN UNDRESSES THE GOP

Paul Krugman: California proves the GOP's "extremist ideology ... is nonsense"

Paul Krugman | (Credit: Reuters/Chip East)

Salon

The New York Times columnist explains how California’s success puts conservative dogma to shame

In his latest column for the New York Times, award-winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman argues that California’s recent success — and Kansas’ ongoing failure — is yet more proof that conservative anti-tax dogma “is nonsense.”

After citing Justice Brandeis’ famous claim that America’s states are laboratories for democracy, Krugman turns to compare and contrast California and Kansas, noting that while the former state has seen economic growth and a successful implementation of Obamacare, the latter has had a stagnant economy and a ballooning deficit.

Not incidentally, these states decided to take opposite approaches to economic policy, with California embracing “a modestly liberal agenda of higher taxes, spending increases and a rise in the minimum wage” while Kansas “went all-in on supply-side economics, slashing taxes on the affluent” only to see paltry growth and a darkening fiscal picture.

“If tax increases are causing a major flight of jobs from California, you can’t see it in the job numbers,” Krugman writes. “Employment is up 3.6 percent in the past 18 months, compared with a national average of 2.8 percent; at this point, California’s share of national employment, which was hit hard by the bursting of the state’s enormous housing bubble, is back to pre-recession levels.”

Does Krugman expect the California example to change conservatives’ minds? Hardly. “Has there been any soul-searching among the prophets of California doom, asking why they were so wrong?” he asks. “Not that I’m aware of. Instead, I’ve been seeing many attempts to devalue the good news from California by pointing out that the state’s job growth still lags that of Texas, which is true, and claiming that this difference is driven by differential tax rates, which isn’t.”

Krugman then explains why Texas and California diverge — and how it’s not for the reasons right-wingers think:

For the big difference between the two states, aside from the size of the oil and gas sector, isn’t tax rates. it’s housing prices. Despite the bursting of the bubble, home values in California are still double the national average, while in Texas they’re 30 percent below that average. So a lot more people are moving to Texas even though wages and productivity are lower than they are in California.

And while some of this difference in housing prices reflects geography and population density — Houston is still spreading out, while Los Angeles, hemmed in by mountains, has reached its natural limits — it also reflects California’s highly restrictive land-use policies, mostly imposed by local governments rather than the state. As Harvard’s Edward Glaeser has pointed out, there is some truth to the claim that states like Texas are growing fast thanks to their anti-regulation attitude, “but the usual argument focuses on the wrong regulations.” And taxes aren’t important at all.

GOP’s ’16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

GOP's '16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/AP)

Salon

After Romney’s 2012 loss, pundits raved about the GOP’s new leaders. But two years later, Democrats have the edge

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election in 2012, reporters found one soothing source of solace for the GOP. “One race the Republicans appear to be winning is the one for the deepest bench of rising stars,” wrote the Washington Post, and plenty of folks followed up. Democrats, meanwhile, had nobody on the bench but Hillary Clinton – a formidable candidate if she were to run, but that wasn’t even certain.

Beyond Clinton, there seemed to be a wasteland populated by ambitious governors no one had ever heard of (Martin O’Malley), some who were well known but not widely liked (Andrew Cuomo). Oh, and Brian Schweitzer.

The Republican list, meanwhile, seemed almost infinite: blue and purple state governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Virginia’s Bob McConnell, and Tea Party senators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Romney’s ambitious, “wonky” running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, had his fans, as did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recovered from back surgery and sporting hot new glasses, could have another life in 2016.

But in two years, the situation has almost reversed itself. Promising GOP governors – McDonnell, Christie, Walker – find themselves dogged by scandal. The Tea Party trio of Paul, Cruz and Rubio still vies for media attention and right wing adoration, but Rubio’s immigration reform work doomed him on the right. Unbelievably, Paul is widely labeled the frontrunner (but don’t tell that to Cruz), while the party establishment and neocon hawks search for an alternative. Despite all that impressive talent, Mitt Romney leads the pack in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in what’s widely being reported as trouble for Hillary Clinton, because that’s the narrative the media know best, it turns out there are a bunch of popular and maybe even formidable Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation. (Check out this great New Yorker Biden profile if you want to know how the VP is keeping his options open). The Netroots buzz inspired the Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa to survey the landscape of Democrats who’ve put a toe or more in the water for 2016.

We learned that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is visiting Iowa (it is only one state away), while New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has a book coming out. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is said to be huddling with donors, believing the party could use a dose of red state common sense.

This is all framed as mildly ominous news for Hillary Clinton – the headline is “With liberals pining for a Clinton challenger, ambitious Democrats get in position” — but Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Nixon have all endorsed Clinton, and Warren has encouraged Clinton to run while insisting she won’t do so herself. The only Democrats listed who may still run even if Clinton does too are O’Malley and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

Regardless of the intent of the framing, the Rucker-Costa story actually pointed up the vitality in the Democratic Party, where lively debates over income inequality and foreign policy have so far fallen short of creating bitter divisions and factions, at least so far. Again, contrast that with the GOP, where Ted Cruz seems to be staking his 2016 hopes on his ability to humiliate every party leader and make sure Republicans will never make inroads with the Latino population. He’s blocking bipartisan emergency legislation to deal with the border crisis, and pushing to reverse President Obama’s deferred action on deportation for young people brought here by their parents.

Meanwhile Warren, the progressive elected the same time as Cruz, is touring the country campaigning for Democratic Senate candidates, even some who are more centrist than she is, like Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant.  She’s focused on growing the Democratic Party, not cutting down colleagues who are less progressive.

So: the GOP’s right wing firebrand is a loose cannon who is completely out for himself, while the Democrats’ left wing firebrand is working amiably with party leaders and deflecting talk of a primary challenge to Clinton. In the end, the rising number of possible alternatives to Hillary Clinton is a sign of Democratic strength, even if the media tends to bill it as weakness.

Kristol, Navarro: ‘Nobody of Relevance’ Is Talking Impeachment

Bill Kristol and GOP strategist Ana Navarro (Screen shots)

Mediaite

In an on-air subtweeting Sarah PalinWeekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and GOP strategistAna Navarro dismissed the talk of impeaching President Barack Obama bubbling up on the right, arguing that it was limited to the irrelevant fringes, while GOP leadership is focused on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) lawsuit against the president.

“No responsible elected official has called for impeachment,” Kristol said. “The Republican task is to elect a Republican Senate and elect a Republican president in 2016, not create a phony issue which allows Democrats to make Republicans look extreme.”

“Nobody of responsibility, nobody in leadership, nobody of relevance has talked about impeachment,” Navarro said. “The lawsuit is about constitutional powers and separation of powers. So can we stick to talking about what people who actually can make something happen say, as opposed to what what folks who want to make headlines say?”

Besides, Kristol added, “One problem with [impeachment] is you’d just get Joe Biden as president.”

Watch the clip below, via ABC News:

Deranged Todd Akin is back — and steps in it again!

Deranged Todd Akin is back -- and steps in it again!

Todd Akin (Credit: Reuters/Sarah Conard)

I love it when these nutcases come out of the GOP woodwork…

Salon

The rape denialist now says he told the truth about those lying women in 2012. And it gets even worse

Just in time for a midterm election that could hinge on the votes of women, former GOP Senate hopeful Todd Akin is back, and he is pissed. In a new memoir previewed by Politico, Akin says he was telling the truth about lying women who claim they were raped to get out of the consequences of sex – but that he was strong-armed into apologizing by craven GOP bosses.

“My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress of fertilization,” he writes in “Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom.” Akin, who is not a doctor, insists “this is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me?”

Why yes, Todd, I do.

“Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject.”

Well, that settles it.

With a forward by Mike Huckabee, “Firing Back” represents the far-right’s backlash against a party establishment that is trying to heal its rift with women by changing the way it talks, but not its policies. Huckabee made his own icky Akin-like foray into the realm of women’s biology by claiming earlier this year that Democrats are the party of women who “cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.”

Far from apologizing, Huckabee went out and raised money off the crude comment. Now he’s championing Akin as a martyr to the cowardly GOP leadership that’s afraid of frank talk about slutty women who can’t control their libidos, and cry “rape” instead of taking the consequences of their sluttiness. “[W]e can sit on the bus (in the back!), but they don’t want us to drive the bus!,” Huckabee writes in the forward. The GOP establishment, he claims, was “still bruised that they didn’t beat Todd in the primary,” and used his comments “as their opportunity to take him out and select someone more palatable to their tastes.”

Who turned out to be Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill?

Akin won’t help the GOP project of outreach to African Americans any more than he will with women, calling abortion an “evil far worse than slavery” and insisting that President Obama’s supporters are the real racists. “Unfortunately, by yelling, ‘Racism!’ every time anyone criticized the president’s policies, Obama’s fellow Democrats and their allies in the media have only aggravated racial tensions.”

Continued below the fold…

Rand Paul: Trade Hillary Clinton To The Taliban, Not Guantanamo Detainees

Sen. Rand Paul (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Whatever happened to political correctness and decor?  The Tea Party, in my opinion has destroyed any semblance of comity(courtesy and considerate behavior toward others)  in politics.  The GOP as a whole has sanctioned this sort of thing and can’t speak out due to censure and blacklisting.   Not to mention the rich donors who would cut them off in a heartbeat.

It’s a strange world we live in…

The Huffington post

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered some red meat to the Texas GOP convention on Friday, suggesting that, instead of Guantanamo Bay detainees, President Barack Obama should use Democrats such as Hillary Clinton as a bargaining chip in any future dealings with the Taliban.

“Mr. President, you love to trade people,” he told a supportive crowd in Fort Worth, according to Politico.

“Why don’t we set up a trade? But this time, instead of five Taliban, how about five Democrats?” he joked. “I’m thinking John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi …”

The Kentucky Republican, who is making moves toward a presidential run in 2016, also criticized the administration for failing to properly notify Congress before the trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Saturday.

“I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been a little bit annoyed with the president,” he added. “Releasing five Taliban senior officials is not only against the law, it’s illegal and wrong and he should never have done it.”

Paul skipped a classified briefing held by administration officials this week detailing the exchange and the reasons for the secrecy.

H/t: Ted

Ted Cruz Has a Message for GOP ‘Graybeards’ Who Opposed Gov’t Shutdown

Ted Cruz (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

I think Ted Cruz is a bit too sure of himself.  Outside of his home state of Texas, no one can stomach him…

Mediaite

When Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) led the charge to shut down the United States government over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act last fall, the general consensus, including among many of his Republican colleagues, was that the move would be a disaster for the GOP. But during a speech at the Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday, Cruz attempted to recast the shutdown as the one thing that could help his party take back the Senate in this year’s midterm elections.

“Let me tell you right now, I am convinced we are going to retake the United States Senate in 2014,” Cruz told the crowd to raucous applause. But beyond just sharing that positive outlook, Cruz wanted to delve into the reasons behind Republicans’ increased political favor. “Why are so many Democrats running terrified?” he asked.

The “most compelling reason,” according to Cruz, is Obamacare. He then turned to the fight that he led last year to stop the “abomination” that is the Affordable Care Act, which, after a troubled rollout, hashelped more than 8 million Americans gain health insurance.

If you listen to Democrats and the media, which Cruz implied are the same thing, “they will tell you that fight last fall accomplished nothing.” He may have failed to stop Obamacare from becoming law, but as Cruz said, “Not every war is won in a single battle.”

By “elevating the national debate” over Obamacare, Cruz said he and his followers created an environment for conservatives to succeed in the midterms. “And somehow, all of the graybeards in Washington, who opposed fighting against Obamacare,” Cruz said of his GOP colleagues, “are now looking around and we’re winning Senate seats all over the country. They’re reaping the fruits of the battle.”

“We need to take a moment to acknowledge the lesson of the battle,” Cruz said. “How do you win elections? You don’t win it by standing for nothing.”

Watch video here…

Jon Stewart Slams GOP Hypocrisy Over VA Scandal

The Huffington Post

The GOP has been blasting the Obama administration for failing to give veterans timely care in the VA hospital scandal. But as Jon Stewart pointed out on Thursday’s “Daily Show,” the Republicans haven’t been helping, either.

Stewart played video clips of Republicans in the Senate undermining efforts to increase funding for veterans’ benefits, then took a trip down “Terrible Memory Lane” to show how U.S. veterans have gotten the shaft for much of the nation’s history no matter who’s in power.

“On this Memorial Day weekend eve, we can finally admit that America has had for over 200 years a great bipartisan tradition of honoring those who have fought for our freedom by fucking them over once they give their guns back,” Stewart said.

In the clip above, watch Stewart rip into the GOP for calling out the president while refusing to boost funding for veterans. Even Bill O’Reilly gets in on the act.

Then, in the clip below, take that trip down “Terrible Memory Lane.”