Tag Archives: GOP

‘THE REAL VOTER FRAUD IS PEOPLE WHO TRY TO DENY OUR RIGHTS’

US President Barack Obama addresses the National Action Networks 16th Annual Convention in New York City on April 11 , 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama addresses the National Action Networks 16th Annual Convention in New York City on April 11 , 2014 | (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama delivered a fiery speech against Republicans on Friday, charging that the GOP is threatening voting rights in America.

Appearing at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference, Obama cited a 2006 DOJ analysis showing that out of 197,000,000 votes cast for federal elections between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for fraud.

“For those of you who are math majors, that is a percentage that is 0.00002 percent,” Obama said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Obama then pointed to who he considers to be the real perpetrators: the people behind these “bogus” claims.

“Let’s be clear,” Obama said. “The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud.”

More from the Associated Press below:

The election-year warning comes as Obama seeks to mobilize Democratic voters to fight back against state voting requirements and early balloting restrictions that many in his party fear will curb turnout in November. The president vowed that he would not let the attacks on voting rights go unchallenged, but offered no new announcements of specific actions his administration planned to take.

The president pinned efforts to curb access to the ballot box directly on the GOP, declaring that the effort “has not been led by both parties. It’s been led by the Republican Party.”

For the remainder of the year, no political issue stands out more prominently for Democrats than their ability to motivate voters to turn out at the polls in November. Control of the Senate, now in the hands of Democrats, is at stake, as is Obama’s already limited ability to push his agenda through Congress.

But traditionally weak midterm turnout by Democrats coupled with efforts in some states to limit early voting and to enact voter identification requirements have prompted the president and his party to raise alarms and step up their get-out-the-vote efforts.

Republicans have long argued that identification requirements and other voting controls are reasonable measures designed to safeguard the balloting process, not to suppress voter turnout. Democrats say photo identification requirements especially affect minority or low-income voters who may not drive and thus wouldn’t have an official government ID.

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The GOP: Walking dead

(Republican National Committee)

I watch Jonathan a lot on MSNBC and I like his column.  Once again, “he hits it outta the park”…

The Washington Post – Jonathan Capehart

One year after issuing a truth-telling autopsy of its drubbing in the 2012 presidential race (primarily because of its dismal and exclusionary relationship with people of color and others), the Republican Party celebrated by looking the other way. Literally.

In a series of ads, the GOP features members of the gorgeous mosaic of the United States — African American, Asian American and hipster — proclaiming, “I’m a Republican” and then finishing the sentence with calls for an all-of-the-above energy policy, smaller government and opportunity while looking somewhere that wasn’t the camera and talking to no one in particular. A perfect metaphor for the GOP’s ongoing problem with people of color.

Dick Armey said it best on page 10 of the autopsy. “You can’t call someone ugly,” the former House Majority Leader and Tea Party menace admonished, “and expect them to go to the prom with you.” And that’s exactly what the GOP did for the last year in word and deed.

Rep. Steve King (Cliff Owen/AP)

Rep. Steve King (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

Rep.  Steve King (Iowa) denigrated Latinos last July as he articulated his opposition to allowing undocumented high schoolers to get U.S. citizenship through college or service in the armed forces under the Dream Act. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian,” King said, “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sarah Palin and Larry Klayman (r) (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sarah Palin and Larry Klayman (right) (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and half-term governor of Alaska Sarah Palin had no problem being seen with anti-Obama conspiracy theorist Larry Klayman at the Million Vets March in October. “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up,” the lawyersaid of President Obama. Nary a word of denunciation from leaders within the Republican Party.

Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Tex. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Tex. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Nor did anyone denounce the unfurling of the treasonousConfederate flag in front of the White House when that march made its way to the home of the nation’s first black president and his family. That was one of the many explicit expressions of disrespect for this president that many African Americans won’t soon forget. And yet, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Sean Hannity in November, “I think [President Obama] should take ownership over this divisive culture that he has created.”

The GOP deserves some credit for doing behind-the-scenes work to reach out to minorities. Last month, the RNC’s “Black Trailblazers” event at the Howard Theatre in Washington was packed with black conservatives. But that will only get Republicans so far. They say they want black votes, but they are still trying to make it difficult for blacks to vote (see Ohio and Priebus’s home state of Wisconsin). They know their electoral salvation rests in the hands of Latino voters. They know that comprehensive immigration reform will secure it. But they continue to block any action on comprehensive immigration reform while blaming said inaction on “widespread doubt”about the president.

As we know, autopsies are done on dead things. Which means the GOP is among the walking dead.

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Paul Ryan’s race flap even worse than it looks

Paul Ryan's race flap even worse than it looks

Paul Ryan (Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Salon

The notion that Ryan was dog-whistling to racists is actually the best-case scenario. Here’s the scary alternative

I spent a depressing amount of time this weekend trying to think up a scenario in which someone might say the following without being motivated, to at least some degree, by malign intent.

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”

What I came up with was strained and unlikely, but troubling if true.

In case you slept through last week, the person who said this was congressman and one-time GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. It ignited a fairly heated debate over whether he was intentionally trafficking in racial code words to pander to white conservatives. Ryan claims he spoke inarticulately and was thus misunderstood. For proponents of the dog-whistle theory, the fact that Ryan cited Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve,” was the smoking gun.

For my part, I don’t think they need a smoking gun, because Occam’s razor does all the dirty work. You can take Murray completely out of the equation and the likelihood that Ryan wasn’t at least subconsciously playing to the prejudices of resentful or racist whites is pretty low.

But let’s assume Ryan’s playing it straight, and his defenders, like Slate’s Dave Weigel, are correct when they argue that this is just how Ryan and other conservatives “think about welfare’s effects on social norms.” If that’s true, it’s actually a bigger problem for the right. If Ryan was even a little bit aware of how people would interpret his remarks, or understood the reaction to them when it exploded online, we could just say that some conservatives want to play the Southern Strategy at least one more round, and leave it at that. Close the book on this controversy, without drawing any larger conclusions about the state of conservative self-deception.

But if Ryan genuinely stumbled heedless into a racial tinderbox then it suggests he, and most likely many other conservatives, has fully internalized a framing of social politics that wasdeliberately crafted to appeal to white racists without regressing to the uncouth language of explicit racism, and written its origins out of the history. If that’s the case it augurs poorly for those in the movement who are trying to broaden the Republican Party’s appeal, because it’s easier to convince people to abandon a poor tactic than to unlearn rotten ideology.



In his 1984 book “The Two Party South,” political scientist Alexander Lamis quoted a conservative operative later revealed to be Ronald Reagan confidant Lee Atwater, who traced the evolution.

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N—-r, n—-r, n—-r,’” Atwater explained. “By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—-r’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘N—-r, n—-r.”’

Treating intergenerational laziness of inner-city men as established truth, and bemoaning the ways social spending programs supposedly nurture that “culture,” blends seamlessly into Atwater’s framework.

Weigel interprets the fact that Charles Murray has lately softened his claims as exculpation for Ryan and other conservatives who cite him. But Murray’s just following a social Darwinist’s rendition of the trajectory Atwater traced. I suspect both men are wiser to their intentions than their apologists give them credit for. There are ways to promote conservative social policies that aren’t remotely racialized — they just don’t ignite the passions of resentful white people in a politically meaningful way. If I’m wrong, though, conservatives better hope the party doesn’t nominate Ryan or any like-minded thinkers in 2016.

A quick point of trivia: I first learned about Atwater’s comments years ago, in this New York Times column by Bob Herbert questioning why anybody was surprised to hear GOP education secretary-cum-talk radio host Bill Bennett say, “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

Guess whose program Ryan was a guest on when he stepped in it last week?

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If Paul Ryan Is A ‘Moderate,’ I’m The Easter Bunny

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AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

Ha…

TPM Cafe – Opinion

It is a sign of how far right the Republican Party has moved that New York Timescolumnist Ross Douthat describes Rep. Paul Ryan as a “moderate.”

In his column on Sunday, “Four Factions, No Favorite,” Douthat looked at the likely candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Drawing on an article by Henry Olsen in the conservative journal National Interest, Douthat divides the GOP core voters into four groups: centrist (“think John McCain’s 2000 supporters, or Jon Huntsman’s rather smaller 2012 support”), moderately conservative (“think the typical Mitt Romney or Bob Dole voter”), socially conservative (“think Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum backers”), and very conservative but more secular (“think Gingrich voters last time, or Steve Forbes voters much further back”).

Reviewing the stellar cast of likely GOP wannabes for 2016 (Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Ryan), Douthat sorts them into the four categories and guesses which of them might have enough crossover appeal to more than one subgroup to be viable candidates.

By labeling Ryan a “moderate conservative,” Douthat provides lots of wiggle room for defining just what that means. But in any rational look at the spectrum of American political views, it is hard to imagine attaching the word “moderate” to Ryan on any issue, except perhaps his clothing preferences and his haircut.

You can look on a variety of websites — including The Daily BeastOn the Issues,Project Vote Smart, and The Political Guide – to see Ryan’s voting record and statements on issues.

What you’ll find is a politician whose remains an acolyte of novelist Ayn Rand, the philosopher of you’re-on-your-own selfishness, whose books have been required reading for Ryan’s congressional staffers.

On taxes, business regulation, abortion, gun control, gay rights, campaign finance, financial reform, anti-poverty programs, immigration, workers’ rights, energy and the environment, deficit spending, privatizing Social Security, public transportation, unemployment insurance, health care, property rights, and other issues, Ryan is hardly a “moderate.” He’s not even a “moderate conservative.” He’s an extremist and a reactionary, allergic to compromise, in lockstep with the tea party, the NRA, and the conservative wing of the business establishment, represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which views any government regulation to protect consumers, workers and the environment as a “job killer.”

These groups now dominate the GOP. But in earlier times, the GOP was a much larger tent, with room for a variety of viewpoints. For most of the 20th century, most of the conservative business class were Republicans (think Calvin Coolidge and Robert Taft), but there were also very progressive Republicans like Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, and Fiorello La Guardia who challenged the power of big business and promoted consumer and worker rights. (Until the 1960s, most of the racial reactionaries were Southern Democrats, but the GOP had its share of racists too.)

Up through the 1970s, there was still a species called “liberal Republican,” in the mold of Senators Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, George Aiken, Prescott Bush, Mark Hatfield, and Charles Percy; Gov. Nelson Rockefeller; and even Gov. George Romney.

Today “liberal Republican” is an extinct species, as the party has moved further and further to the right. Political scientists Keith Poole of the University of Georgia and Howard Rosenthal of New York University have charted this shift in terms of voting trends in Congress.

As a result, Republicans have moved further and further away from mainstream public opinion. The party’s rightward trajectory is primarily the result of the combined influence of big business, the influence of well-organized right-wing funders (like the Koch Brothers), think tanks and foundations, the rise of the Tea Party, the ascendancy of right-wing media like Fox News and talk shows, and the gerrymandering of congressional districts to promote “safe” GOP seats where even conservative-but-not-wacko candidates, fearing primary challenges from the tea party (funded by the Kochs and their ilk), move ever further to the right

Paul Ryan reflects these shifts within the Republican Party. As I’ve written before, the mainstream media failed to carefully scrutinize Ryan’s views when he was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. They continued to wear blinders last week when Ryan unveiled his 502-page report on anti-poverty programs, filled with lies and misinformation, which was intended to justify his proposed cuts to food stamps, housing and child care subsidies, college aide, and other programs. Yes, Ryan is chair of the House Budget Committee. That simply shows that he’s an ambitious politician, not a serious thinker or policy wonk.

As Ryan gears up for a presidential run, he may seek to reposition himself on various issues. Let’s hope that the mainstream media will remind voters of his consistently ultraconservative views and voting record.

And hopefully they will expose Ryan’s blatant hypocrisy too. Despite Ryan’s attacks on government spending, his family’s construction business has been anchored inbuilding roads on government contracts. Despite his worship of private-sector entrepreneurs, he’s spent his entire career as a government employee. Despite being a crusader against anti-poverty programs, Ryan is a millionaire who made his money the old-fashioned way: by marrying a woman who inherited a fortune.

If Paul Ryan is a “moderate,” I’m the Easter Bunny.

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Obama’s “Undignified”? Here’s What’s Undignified!

The Huffington Post

Your call: Obama sitting “Between Two Ferns”? Or Republicans standing for…?

Follow Rick Horowitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Rick_Horowitz

 

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MUST SEE: Krystal Ball brutally eviscerates the GOP & trashes corporate Dems in one amazing segment

Daily Kos

If you watch only one thing today, watch this.

Short version: The GOP is a staggering corpse that is fading into irrelevance and the real future is in the fight between pro-corporate Democrats and pro-worker Democrats.

But you definitely want to see it for yourself . . .

Transcript:

Krystal Ball:     “Who will win the battle for the soul of the GOP? Will it be the establishment or the tea party, the libertarians or the social conservatives? Well after watching all sides battle it out at CPAC I have come to a definitive conclusion. Are you ready? Here is the answer; it doesn’t matter.
That’s right, who wins and who loses in the fight for control of the Republican party is totally irrelevant.
Sure, it is a fun parlor game to look at whose up and whose down in the Ted Cruz/Rand Paul showdown. Wait. No. It’s not. It’s  a terrible parlor game. What is a parlor game?
Anyway, if you care about the future of this country the Republican party machinations are of now consequence. There’s a few reasons. First, look at this graph.

There is an unprecedented gap between the voting preferences of young voters and everyone else. Millennials may not be crazy about self-identifying as Democrats but whatever they call themselves they’re liberal. They are much more likely to vote Democratic than older generations.
So Republicans, do you know why in five of the last six Presidential elections you’ve lost the popular vote? It’s because every year the electorate is becoming browner and more influenced by the millennials who are more liberal than any other modern generation, and sorry GOP, they’re staying that way. To paraphrase Sally Field at her Oscar win, they don’t like you, they really don’t like you.

And who can blame them? The second reason the GOP is irrelevant is because your economic ideology is toast, debunked, discredited. Your intellectual heavy is Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan! You’ve been flailing around in a house that Reagan built for three decades and still haven’t realized it’s just an empty frame with no foundation. Come back to me when you have some actual evidence for your economic ideology, and no, Ayn Rand novels don’t count.

Nope. Republicans and their deck-chair shifting civil war don’t matter. If you are interested in where the country goes from here the action is all on the Democratic side, and while our own internal divide is less noisy than the Republican one it is just as real and waaaay more important.

This divide, the one that counts, is between the pro-corporate democrats and the pro-worker democrats. It’s pretty easy to tell which are which. In their best incarnation the pro-corporate dems do Wall Street and corporate America’s bidding while doing the best they can to shore up the safety net so that when working folks are inevitably abused by big banks and big business at least there is something of a net to catch them.
Pro-worker dems want to stop the abuse in the first place and keep and expand the safety net just in case those protections fail.

When pro-corporate dems get their way, as they have in democratic politics for, oh, the past twenty-two years, inequality rises. And when inequality rises the power of the plutocracy rises. And when plutocrats call the shots like they do now the safety net gets it.

Plutocrats, it turns out, don’t much care for supporting the workers on whose backs they earn their riches. So even though corporate democrats may be well intentioned their policies lead to a toxic brew of money, plutocracy and power that shreds the safety net, strips workers of their right and hollows out the middle class. The plutocracies wish is their command.

Now to be clear, either type of democrat is a million times better than the folks the GOP has to offer, but that is a pretty low bar. Time to expect more. To demand more. Do we want a society that governs for the needs of the many, or the desires of the few? I know which side I’m on, do you?”

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The right’s ugly food-stamp obsession is back! Why lying dog-whistle politics returned…

The right's ugly food-stamp obsession is back! Why lying dog-whistle politics returned

Dick Cheney on “Cavuto,” on the Fox Business Network, Dec. 9, 2013. (Credit: AP/Richard Drew)

Salon – Joan Walsh

“Welcome to Obama’s America,” Fox’s Eric Bolling told his audience Tuesday – a dystopia where people now use food stamps to patronize “strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries.” Following up on its rubbishy August 2013 faux-exposé “The Great Food Stamp Binge,” Fox again profiled “surfing freeloader” Jason Greenslate, who is allegedly “livin’ large” in San Diego, thanks to the SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps. After Bill O’Reilly’s errand boy Jesse Watters caught up with Greenslate again Monday night, “The Five” used the lazy surfer as “the representative of literally millions of Americans,” in Bolling’s words. It was epic.

“He’s playing the system, he’s stretching the rules to their limits,” Bolling told Fox’s angry, fearful, mostly elderly viewers. “But what would you expect with a $105 billion program that’s almost tripled under Obamanomics? That’s what you would expect, right there, take a look at it. But what’s next? Strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries? Oh, that’s already going on, folks. Welcome to Obama’s America.”

Bolling’s rant came a day after Dick Cheney visited Fox and attacked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s military cuts, telling Sean Hannity, bizarrely, that Obama “would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”

The right just can’t leave that old dog-whistle alone. It’s 2012 all over again – Newt Gingrich will be reviving his claim that Obama’s “the food stamp president” any minute now. In “Obama’s America,” the right is determined to make the president the tribune of a moocher-rewarding, ever-expanding welfare state, even if they have to lie to do so.

Of course in Obama’s America (and everyone else’s) SNAP regulations prohibit buying alcohol or tobacco with food stamps, let alone drugs, and they can’t be used at restaurants or bars, let alone strip clubs. But Bolling wants Fox viewers in a perpetual state of moral panic, and the notion that slackers like Greenslate are “livin’ large” – Fox’s term — on the public dime just works, the facts be damned.



Cheney’s rant was in some ways more offensive. Charging that the cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are “really devastating,” Cheney went on: “It does enormous long-term damage to our military. They act as though it is like highway spending and you can turn it on and off. The fact of the matter is he is having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise.”

Of course, as Think Progress noted back when Cheney began lobbying against defense cuts in 2012, the former vice president himself presided over a 25 percent cut to the defense budget back when he was defense secretary under George H.W. Bush. The fighting force was reduced by 500,000 active-duty soldiers, a move that was blessed by Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Colin Powell.

That was then. These cuts are the work of Obama’s team. So not only must they be attacked as dangerous, they’ve got to be framed as something the corrupt Chicago “gangster” is doing to reward his coalition of slackers, moochers and lazy white surfers.

Now, maybe it’s progress that Fox is making a white surfer the poster boy for food stamp abuse – but it’s the link to “Obama’s America” that updates Reagan’s old imagery about Cadillac-driving welfare queens and “young bucks” using food stamps to buy “T-bone steaks.”

In fact only 1 percent of SNAP funds are wasted in fraud. Three-quarters of SNAP households include an elderly or disabled person or a child, and fully 42 percent of adult recipients are also working, but making too little to feed themselves and their families. Among the nation’s food stamp recipients are almost a million military veterans, who were slurred by Cheney, and thousands of active duty military too. Military families spent $100 million in food stamp funds at military grocery stores in 2013.

Fox and Cheney don’t want you to think about the veteran or the soldier or the single mother or the disabled senior on food stamps. They don’t want Fox viewers to ask why 42 percent of recipients make such low wages that they qualify for food assistance, or why so many veterans and even active-duty soldiers need help. To distract from an economy that’s increasingly hoarding rewards at the top, they point to a cartoonish moocher and blame Obama.

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Colin Powell: ‘Elements’ in GOP ‘Demonize People Who Don’t Look Like the Way They’d Like’

Mediaite

Appearing on MSNBC, former Secretary of State Colin Powell savaged the Republican Party of which he says he is still a member for catering to “elements” that are overtly hostile to people of other races or nationalities. Powell told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that there are groups within the GOP who “demonize people who don’t look like the way they’d like them to look.” He added that, for this reason, he believes the GOP needs him more than the Democratic Party needs him.

Speaking with Mitchell about the need for immigration reform, Powell said that reforming the system was critical. “We are an immigrant nation,” Powell said. “People wonder if we’re still the great country that we pretend to be, or we present ourselves to be. The answer is yes.”

Mitchell noted that Powell has criticized the GOP in the past for harboring a “dark vein of intolerance.” Powell took the opportunity to repeat his criticism.

RELATED: Colin Powell Accuses GOP Of Racism: They ‘Still Look Down On Minorities’

“There are certain elements of the party who go out of their way to demonize people who don’t look like the way they’d like them to look like or came from some other place,” Powell said. “I think the party has to deal with this.”

He said that even senior-level Republicans continue to make “statements about women” and “minorities” that make the party look “less tolerant than it should be.” Powell specifically cited voting laws which he said are designed to restrict minority access to the polls.

Given this, Mitchell asked if Powell was still a Republican. Powell said that he is. “I think a Republican Party needs me more than the Democratic Party needs me,” he concluded.

Watch the clip below, via MSNBC

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The sleeper issue that could help Democrats in 2014

Lundergan Grimes (left) and Nunn are two Democrats who have embraced the Medicaid expansion.

Lundergan Grimes (left) and Nunn are two Democrats who have embraced the Medicaid expansion. (AP)

The Week

The GOP has made opposition to ObamaCare a central pillar of its 2014 campaign strategy. And even though the health care law has begun to turn around, that may not be such a bad idea given lingering public skepticism over the law.

However, there is one crucial piece of ObamaCare that may well become a big winner for Democrats by the end of the year: The dramatic expansion of Medicaid.

Unlike the overall law, the expansion of Medicaid is actually quite popular with voters of all political stripes. Even in the Deep South, more than six in ten support expanding Medicaid, according to one survey last year; conservatives split almost evenly on the issue.

This presents the GOP with two interconnected problems.

First, it undermines part of the party’s “repeal” crusade, since nixing ObamaCare would mean ending a popular policy that has already extended benefits to millions of Americans, many of them previously uninsured.

In red West Virginia, some 75,000 people have already enrolled in Medicaid, far higher than expected, according to The New York Times. As a result, the number of uninsured people in the state has plummeted by about a third.

From the Times:

Waitresses, fast food workers, security guards, and cleaners described feeling intense relief that they are now protected from the punishing medical bills that have punched holes in their family budgets. They spoke in interviews of reclaiming the dignity they had lost over years of being turned away from doctors’ offices because they did not have insurance. [New York Times]

That’s a perfect 2014 Democratic ad campaign right there: People are happy now that they’re covered by Medicaid, and Republicans want to take it away.

Though voters are generally leery of ObamaCare as a whole, they like the Medicaid expansion because they support the idea of extending coverage to the needy. As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes, this gives Democratic candidates in red states some wiggle room.

They are not embracing ObamaCare. But they oppose repeal, and they are standing behind the general goal of expanding coverage to those who can’t afford it. This is true of Michelle Nunn in Georgia (where 57 percent support the Medicaid expansion) and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, who wants the law fixed and supports making coverage available to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, rather than throwing “the baby out with the bathwater.”

None of these Dems were in Congress to vote for ObamaCare, so they are free not to embrace the law overall while supporting a part that’s providing more and more coverage and security to people who lacked it. [Washington Post]

On another level, the GOP may have shot itself in the foot by broadly opposing Medicaid expansion at the state level from the get-go.

Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, states are able to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. So even though the federal government will cover 100 percent of the added costs for the next three years, and 90 percent of the costs after that, 24 mostly GOP-controlled states have decided not to participate.

Virginia, under then-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), is one of the states that opted out. However, McDonnell’s would-be GOP successor, Ken Cuccinelli, lost last November’s gubernatorial election after vowing to continue that policy. While Cuccinelli was a uniquely terrible candidate who lost for a host of reasons, it’s likely that his position on Medicaid played a role, too. A recent Roanokepoll of Virginia voters shows that only one-quarter think Medicaid should not be expanded.

The refusal of some states to expand Medicaid has left an estimated eight million people with no access to affordable health care, all of whom would otherwise have been eligible under the program. Republicans have almost gone out of their way in fulfilling the Democrats’ caricature of the GOP as a heartless “party of no.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that several GOP-led states are already beginning to reconsideraccepting the expansion after all.

If Republicans continue to staunchly oppose the Medicaid expansion on principle, they’ll be rejecting a widely popular policy and effectively advocating to push people off their new health care coverage. As we saw last year with Obama’s broken “you can keep it” promise, stripping people of their existing health insurance doesn’t go over so well.

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CNN Boss Jeff Zucker Calls Out Fox News As a Front For the Republican Party

fox-news-gop-logo

Probably everyone in the country speculated on this but rarely does a top media insider spill the beans…

PoliticusUSA

CNN head Jeff Zucker didn’t mince words when talking to the media recently.  Zucker said that Fox News is a front for the GOP and that the Republican Party is being run out of Fox.

Jeff Zucker took the opportunity presented by the upcoming release of Richard Sherman’s biography of Roger Ailes to unload on Fox News, “Clearly all I can say at this point, without having read it, is from what I understand it confirms, basically, what we’ve known all along, which is that the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel.”

Zucker hit Ailes for doing an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on the same week that the book is coming out, “[Ailes] doesn’t do an interview in a long time and then does it the week that the book comes out? He’s trying to deflect attention. Clearly there’s probably no other network in American television that is covering news in such a substantial and serious way than CNN.”

Zucker’s statement seems like a Captain Obvious moment, but consider that one of the reasons why Fox News is able to get away with as much as it does is that the mainstream media largely takes FNC’s side and treats them like a real news organization.

Back in 2010, the media flipped out when President Obama spoke the truth about Fox News in a Rolling Stone interview, Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.”

After that interview, mainstream media television networks ran to the defense of Fox News. Mainstream outlets that are desperate to follow the money making model of Fox have more times than not defended the network as a real outlet for journalism, so Zucker’s comments are a big deal.

CNN has a multitude of problems. One of which is a bias towards Republicans that makes the network much less of a straight shooter than Zucker claims. I think Al Jazeera America would disagree with Zucker’s statement that no other American network is covering the news as substantially as CNN. Plus it is ironic that Zucker would talk about substance at CNN after he brought back the completely empty Crossfire, and has loaded up his weekend primetime lineup with non-news programming.

If more network heads would speak out against Fox News, the truth might set journalism free. The mainstream media, including CNN, still foolishly believe that America is a conservative country and their path to huge profits is to copy Fox. Until this changes, the sorry pro-Republican state of corporate media won’t be transformed anytime soon.

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