Tag Archives: Mitch McConnell

New Yorker Shows Obama Getting His Health Care Revenge On Republicans

 The Huffington Post

Republicans are not going to like the New Yorker’s latest cover.

The illustration nods to Obamacare’s recent victory, and shows President Obama feeding medicine to a little boy.

That’s just not any little boy though — it’s Mitch McConnell. Artist Barry Blitt told the magazine, “I enjoyed drawing Ted Cruz, John Boehner, and Michele Bachmann as petulant children—and I especially wanted to draw an open-mouthed Mitch McConnell being spoon-fed his meds.”

(h/t Gabriel Debenedetti)

5 Comments

Filed under Affordable Care Act, New Yorker Magazine

Republicans In Collapse as Obamacare Enrollment Skyrockets In December

Obama_On_Computer

PoliticusUSA

The Republican plan of running against Obamacare is in free fall today as HHS announced that 975,000 people signed up for health insurance in December alone.

According to the announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services,

As we continue our open enrollment campaign, we experienced a welcome surge in enrollment as millions of Americans seek access to affordable health care coverage through new Health Insurance Marketplaces nationwide. More than 1.1 million people enrolled in a qualified health plan via the Federally-facilitated Marketplace from October 1 to December 24, with more than 975,000 of those enrolling this month alone. Our HealthCare.gov enrollment nearly doubled in the days before the January 1 coverage deadline compared to the first few weeks of the month. December enrollment so far is over 7 times that of October and November. In part, this was because we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov: the site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone.

The entire Republican strategy has been to discourage people from enrolling in the ACA Judging by these numbers, they have completely failed. Republicans are basing their entire 2014 and 2016 strategies on running against Obamacare. Their plan is backfiring, and they are setting themselves up for an epic backlash.

Millions of Americans have now signed up for access to affordable healthcare. Republicans, especially Republican Senate candidates, are going to be in a position of having to tell voters in 2014 that their plan is to take away their healthcare. This is why as more people enroll, it won’t be surprising if more Democrats follow the lead of Sen. Mary Landrieu and embrace the ACA as a part of their campaign.

The Republican tactic of campaigning only on opposition to the ACA was running on fumes in 2012. It was a narrowminded and shortsighted strategy that was born out of the fact that the GOP has done zilch for the American people and has no accomplishments to run on. Obamacare was all they had, and now that is vanishing too.

The success of the ACA will have a profound impact on elections around the country. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell is defying the success of the exchange in his own state by refusing to talk about anything but repealing Obamacare. McConnell is already tied with Democratic challenger Alison Grimes, and his Obamacare or bust strategy may very well cost him his Senate seat this November.

President Obama trusted his instincts. The president has never wavered. He knows that people want access to affordable healthcare and he is being proven correct every day. Millions of people are signing up, and the Republican Party is being reduced to rubble as the final beam that was propping up their teetering house cracks under the weight of the ACA’s success.

2 Comments

Filed under Affordable Care Act, GOP Extremism

Rachel Maddow – Right-wing rejects Mandela’s hero status

Maddown Up All Night via screencap

Rachel Maddow 12-11-2013 (Screencap)

The Raw Story

No matter how bad it seems for Democrats right now, said Rachel Maddow on her show Wednesday night, it’s worse for Republicans. In spite of the fact that the Obamacare roll-out was messy, the Republican Party right now is being roiled in an intense internecine civil war that is keeping the party completely paralyzed.

This week the U.S. Senate is having all-night sessions as the Republicans attempt to slow down voting on a clutch of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees.

“None of them are controversial,” Maddow said. “All of them are likely to be confirmed when their nomination comes up for a vote. But, Republicans have decided they’re going to take a really long time to do that.”

And, she added, the Republicans won’t get anything out of this political stunt that they wouldn’t get if they did nothing at all. The slowdown of voting is purely symbolic.

Senate Republicans are protesting the Democrats’ decision three weeks ago to dispense with the normal two-thirds’ majority needed for presidential nominations. Instead, now they only need a simple majority, action Democrats took in response to constant abuse of the filibuster by the GOP.

At the time of the vote, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell told Democrats, “You’ll regret this.”

Now, payback appears to be coming in the form of Republicans staying up past their bedtime.

“This is Mitch McConnell’s big idea?” Maddow asked.

“This was the Democrats’ whole idea,” she said, “to try to make clear that the Republicans are abusing the filibuster.”

“It’s amazing, it’s like he was hired by Democratic bloggers to illustrate what’s wrong with Republicans in the Senate right now,” she marveled.

But that’s nothing compared to what’s happening in the House of Representatives.

“If there is one thing to take more pleasure in than your opponent’s outraged display of his own impotence in defeat,” Maddow said, “it’s got to be the spectacle of your opponent being driven to his knees by infighting on his own side.”

In the House, “open warfare” has broken out between tea party Republicans and Republican Party stalwarts like Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), who are entering into a tentative budget deal with House Democrats.

This has outraged right-wing publications and pundits, who see any deal with Democrats as treachery and a danger to America.

Politico quoted Senate Conservatives Fund executive Director Matt Hoskins as saying, “John Boehner has apparently decided to join Mitch McConnell in the war on conservatives. McConnell called us fringe traitors who should be locked in a bar and punched in the nose, and now Boehner is lashing out at us too. Conservatives everywhere need to understand that the party’s leadership has declared war on them. If they don’t fight back, they will always regret it. We’re going to hang together or hang separately.”

All but cackling with delight, Maddow said, “Covering politics doesn’t get any better than this.”

Watch the video, embedded below:

Via MSNBC – The Rachel Maddow Show

 

2 Comments

Filed under GOP, Rachel Maddow

McConnell lashes out: Tea Party groups ‘ruining’ GOP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the weekly policy lunch of the Republican caucus on Nov. 19, 2013 in Washington, D.C. WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces Tea Party backlash in his coming re-election efforts for 2014.  This should be interesting in light of his most recent statement…

MSNBC

Mitch McConnell ripped tea party-aligned forces like the Senate Conservatives Fund in a recent interview, saying they are “ruining” the Republican brand.

It is the Senate Minority Leader’s latest attempt to stand up to extremists in his party amidst a tough reelection bid that’s left him fielding attacks from the left and right, with Democrats criticizing his role in allowing a government shutdown and his Republican challenger criticizing his role in ending it.

In an interview published on Friday, McConnell chided the most far-right wing members of his party—without specifically naming the tea party —and blamed them for the government shutdown in October.

“There were people who were basically afraid of [conservatives], frankly,” McConnell told theWashington Examiner. “It’s time for people to stand up to this sort of thing.”

In standing up to the tea party, McConnell is walking a tight-rope: he doesn’t want to anger the far-right, grassroots Republicans who have long made up his base, but he does want to stop the tea-party led insurgency that has dragged Republican approval ratings down to historic lowsshut the government down for 16-days, and caused a GOP civil war.

“To have the kind of year we ought to have in 2014, we have to have electable candidates on November ballots in every state—people that don’t scare the general electorate and can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home,” McConnell told the Washington Examiner. “We can’t just turn the other cheek and hope for the best. It didn’t work in 2010 and 2012 so we’re going to try something different in 2014.”

McConnell kept quiet for the first few years of the group’s existence once he saw its power in Kentucky (a McConnell-approved candidate lost to tea party darling Sen. Rand Paul in a race to be Kentucky’s junior senator), courting tea party forces and even bringing Paul’s 2010 campaign manager to run his 2014 bid.

His battle with the tea party coincides with his 2014 bid, where he’s facing challenges on both sides—from a formidable Democrat, former Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan-Grimes, and a tea party challenger, Matt Bevin. McConnell trumps Bevin in polls, but he and Grimes are neck and neck.

It’s perhaps why McConnell’s gloves came off when he discussed the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that aims to boot the Senate’s seasoned Republicans, including McConnell, in favor of farther right conservatives like his challenger from the right, Bevin.

“The Senate Conservatives Fund is giving conservatism a bad name. They’re participating in ruining the [Republican] brand,” McConnell said. “What they do is mislead their donors into believing the reason that we can’t get as good an outcome as we’d like to get is not because of a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president, but because Republicans are insufficiently committed to the cause — which is utter nonsense.”

7 Comments

Filed under Senate Republicans, Tea Party Agenda

Jon Stewart mocks Mitch McConnell’s warning to Democrats: Someday you will want to be obstructionist a*sholes

Jon Stewart 112113 [YouTube]

The Raw Story

Daily Show host Jon Stewart poked fun at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) warning to Democrats that ending the long-standing abuse of the filibuster by invoking what pundits insist on calling the “nuclear option” would come back to haunt them.

“Mark my words,” Stewart boomed on Thursday. “One day you Democrats will want to be obstructionist a*sholes making a mockery of our system of government. And who’ll be laughing then? Turtle Man.”

Stewart also mocked media coverage of Senate Democrats’ move to have non-Supreme Court nominations and other procedural matters be decided by a simple majority, rather than by having to get at least 60 votes to pass.

“So deciding to allow majority rules to incrementally increase governmental efficiency and presidential appointments is so unthinkably extreme that it’s the ‘nuclear option’?” Stewart asked. “It’s the Hiroshima of voting.”

Watch Stewart’s take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) going “nuclear,” as posted online on Thursday, below.

2 Comments

Filed under Jon Stewart, Senate Filibuster

By the way: McConnell: For going nuclear before he was against it

Daily Kos

Harry Reid is having a fun day:

By filibustering 10 qualified judicial nominees in only 16 months, our Democratic colleagues have broken this unwritten rule. This is not the first time a minority of senators has upset a Senate tradition or practice and the current Senate majority intends to do what the majority in the Senate has often done: use it’s constitutional authority under Article 1, section 5 to reform Senate procedure by a simple majority vote.

In two sentences 2005 McConnell destroys all of 2013 McConnell’s arguments. Just like that. What a difference a Democratic president makes.

1 Comment

Filed under Mitch McConnell

10 things you need to know today: November 14, 2013

A billion dollars isn't as cool as it used to be. 

A billion dollars isn’t as cool as it used to be. (Jens Buttner/dpa/Corbis)

The Week

Healthcare.gov’s first month was officially a bust, Snapchat rejects Facebook’s $3 billion offer, and more

1. Just 106,000 picked health plans in ObamaCare marketplaces’ first month
The Obama administration said Wednesday that 106,000 people — far fewer than expected — selected health insurance plans through ObamaCare’s state and federal online marketplaces in their first month. Only 26,794 signed up through the troubled Healthcare.gov website. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused White House of “Enron-like accounting” for touting those who picked plans, rather than those who actually bought coverage. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. Snapchat spurns Facebook’s $3 billion offer
The fast-growing messaging service Snapchat has reportedly turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook. Young people are flocking to Snapchat, a mobile app that lets them trade messages or photos that disappear after a few seconds. Facebook has been losing young users, and wants Snapchat to bring them back. Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, 23, is hoping the company will keep growing and fetch an even bigger price later. [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. American ships reach the Philippines with aid for typhoon victims
U.S. Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier and a 700-foot supply ship, arrived in the Philippines on Thursday to deliver badly needed food, water, and medicine to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Despite a mounting aid effort, many survivors still haven’t received badly needed supplies, as debris from the massive storm is blocking roads, including the one connecting the devastated city of Tacloban with its airport. [CNNBBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. Four Marines die in an accident at Camp Pendleton
Four Marines were killed Wednesday while performing maintenance on an artillery range at California’s Fort Pendleton. The accident was not caused by live fire. The names of the dead will be announced within 24 hours, after their families are notified. “Our first priority is to provide the families with the support they need,” Brig. Gen. John Bullard said. [Los Angeles Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. GOP lawmakers say they will try to impeach Holder
House Republicans say they plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday. They say Holder has failed to uphold federal laws — by declining to enforce laws on gay marriage, for example. They also accuse him of lying to Congress when he refused to give a congressional committee subpoenaed documents about the botched “Fast and Furious” sting that involved selling weapons to gun traffickers. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. Toronto council asks alleged crack-smoking mayor to quit
Toronto’s city council voted on Wednesday to ask scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford to step down. Ford and his brother voted against the motion, but it passed 37-5. Ford, who is refusing to resign despite admitting that he smoked crack, shrugged and said, “I effed up.” Later he confessed to buying drugs, and tried to introduce a motion calling for everyone on the council to undergo drug and alcohol testing, but his colleagues laughed at him. [National Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. Two Secret Service agents get kicked off Obama’s security team
The Secret Service, still bruised by a 2012 prostitution scandal, has removed two agents from President Obama’s security detail for alleged misconduct. Senior supervisor Ignacio Zamora Jr. allegedly tried to force his way back into a woman’s hotel room after leaving behind a bullet from his gun. The follow-up investigation uncovered sexually suggestive emails Zamora and fellow supervisor Timothy Barraclough sent a female subordinate. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. Markets rise as the Fed signals continuing stimulus
Stocks rose around the world early Thursday after the Federal Reserve’s incoming chief, Janet Yellen, said in remarks prepared for her Senate confirmation hearing that the central bank would have to continue its huge asset-buying economic stimulus program for a while longer. Yellen said that with unemployment still high there was “more work to do.” The comments sent the Dow and S&P 500 indexes jumping to record levels late Wednesday. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. Alleged Baldwin stalker goes to jail for contempt
A Canadian woman accused of stalking actor Alec Baldwin got a 30-day jail term on Wednesday for contempt of court after she repeatedly interrupted another witness by saying, “I want to testify.” Genevieve Sabourin, 41, says she had a one-night stand with Baldwin and he promised her a lifetime of omelets. The actor says he never had a sexual relationship with Sabourin. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. Diamond fetches record price at Swiss auction
The Pink Star diamond sold for a record $83 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. The old record for the most paid for a gemstone at auction was set three years ago when another diamond, the Graff Pink, sold for $46.2 million. That gem was half the size of the Pink Star, which measures 1.06 by 0.81 inches, and is set in a ring. The buyer of the Pink Star was New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf. [BBC News]

3 Comments

Filed under 10 things you need to know today

McConnell smacks down tea party groups: They mislead for profit

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks to reporters as lawmakers moved toward resolving their feud over filibusters of White House appointees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2013.CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP

It appears Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may have finally acquired a new set of cajones.  

As much as I don’t like McConnell, kudos to him for finally standing up to those folks in  the house and senate who wish to end government as we know it and profit from their destructive tactics in the process. 

MSNBC

Sen. Mitch McConnell is done playing nice.

McConnell smacked down the tea party in an interview with Wall Street Journal opinion writer Peggy Noonan published Thursday evening.

The Tea Party is made up of people who are “angry and upset at government,” the Senate minority leader said, but they’ve been mislead by their leaders.

“They’ve been told the reason we can’t get to better outcomes than we’ve gotten is not because the Democrats control the Senate and the White House but because Republicans have been insufficiently feisty. Well, that’s just not true, and I think that the folks that I have difficulty with are the leaders of some of these groups who basically mislead them for profit,” he said.

When the tea party helped Sen. Rand Paul defeat a McConnell-approved candidate in a Kentucky Republican primary in 2010, McConnell made nice with the Senate’s tea party wing and looked to shore up his right flank, hiring a Paul-family friend, Jesse Benton, to run his re-election campaign. A tea partier challenged him from the right, but McConnell leads in polls by a 47 points.

Then the shutdown hit and all bets were off—McConnell quickly became a target when he brokered a deal with Democrats to reopen the federal government without taking down Obamacare.

And the chips fell swiftly.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, slammed McConnell, endorsed his Republican primary challenger, and later began running ads against McConnell.

“So now Mitch McConnell is negotiating the Republican surrender,” the group’s executive director,Matt Hoskins, said. “He gave the Democrats a blank check back in July when he signaled he would do anything to avoid a shutdown and now Democrats can demand whatever they want. It’s humiliating.”

The Tea Party Nation withdrew their endorsement of the Senate minority leader in his primary race; the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed McConnell’s tea party challenger. Western Representation PAC, a tea party-aligned group, slammed McConnell in a fundraising email titled “A Parliament of Traitors and Whores.”

Even Sarah Palin wrote a Facebook post pointing fingers at McConnell and his reelection race.

“We’re going to shake things up in 2014,” she wrote in part. “Soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let’s start with Kentucky.”

So, with little tea party support left to lose, McConnell is hitting back.

The Senate Conservatives Fund “has elected more Democrats than the Democratic Senatorial Committee over the last three cycles,” he told the Journal.

And that race in Alabama, where a birther, tea party activist lost to a conservative business-interest-aligned Republican?

That was a significant election, McConnell said, explaining that Republicans can’t govern if they can’t win elections. And to win, parties must “run candidates that don’t scare the general public, [and] convey the impression that we could actually be responsible for governing, you can trust us—we’re adults here, we’re grown-ups,” he said.

But McConnell isn’t worried about the primary challenge his tea party opponents are hoping to make more difficult.

“I don’t wanna be overly cocky, but I’m gonna be the Republican nominee next year,” he told Noonan.

2 Comments

Filed under Mitch McConnell

10 craziest right-wing statements of the week –Tea Party meltdown edition

10 craziest right-wing statements of the week --Tea Party meltdown edition

Rick Scarborough (Credit: YouTube)

Salon

1. Justice Antonin Scalia: “The 14th Amendment protects all races, not only the blacks.”

No friend of affirmative action, voting rights protections, or anything he deems “racial entitlements,” the high court’s least inhibited conservative was at it again this week during oral arguments in a case in which advocates for minorities are challenging Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action in college admissions. The case reached the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court held the ban violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection guarantee, in that it prevents minorities from lobbying for racial preferences, when other groups can lobby for their favored programs, Huffpo explained.

A lawyer challenging the ban argued that the original goal of the 14th Amendment was to protect minority rights against a white majority.

Scalia begged to differ. “My goodness,” he said. “I thought we’ve held that the 14th Amendment protects all races. I mean, that was the argument in the early years, that it protected only—only the blacks. But I thought we rejected that. You say now that we have to proceed as though its purpose is not to protect whites, only to protect minorities?”

A little history: the 14th Amendment was approved three years after the end of the Civil War, and it was definitely about protecting the rights of former slaves. Scalia has not made any secret of his view that the country is all done with that racism stuff. If anything, the pendulum has swung too far the other way, he seems to think.

In February, Scalia said Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He later joined the majority in voting to strike down the provision, which quickly led to several states enacting voter ID laws that are blatantly discriminatory.

Wonder how he’ll vote this time.

2. Confused Republican thought the debt deal included money for Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

With all the dopey things said and done by intransigent Republicans in last week’s shitstorm of dopey intransigence, Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney earned his place right up there in the pantheon. When the 11th hour deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government was struck between Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, it did not have much trouble getting through both houses of Congress. But there were those Republicans deluding themselves that they could fight on.



Rep. Mulvaney of South Carolina was one—and among his objections? The deal, he said, included funding for Joseph Kony’s Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army. Now, that would be pretty evil if it were true. Kony is an exiled war criminal with a messianic complex known for kidnapping children, and turning them into sex slaves and soldiers who kill their own families. The funding, if Mr. Mulvaney had read a little closer, was a small amount earmarked to the Pentagon which is funding African troops trying to capture Kony and end his reign of terror and atrocity. Ohhhh…oops. It seems Sen. David Vitter isn’t the only Republican in Congress Harry Reid could legitimately claim was not playing with a full deck.

3. Tony Perkins: Democrats are the theocrats for wanting to help the poor.

This will be news to biblical scholars. The Bible apparently says that government should have no role in helping the poor. Expressly forbids it.

This comes straight from the horse’s mouth, Tony Perkins, head of the right-wing Family Research Council, in a radio interview with conservative host Janet Mefferd. He then follows what can only be termed a rather bizarre train of thought to its illogical conclusion which is that it is the liberals who are trying to establish a theocracy in this country, not conservatives, because liberals want government to help the poor. Wait, we thought Christianity forbids that. Color us confused.

Perkins’ organization does have a unique take on the Bible and its treatment of the poor. Another spokesman for the group recently said there is “nothing more Christian” than eliminating millions of food stamp recipients from the government rolls.

But in this round Perkins does not merely want to stick it to the poor, he wants to flip the whole argument about which group is conflating church and state. It’s those liberals, you see. “They accuse evangelicals of wanting to create a theocracy, which is the farthest thing from the truth, when in fact, they are treating the government as if it had divine instruction from God to be a form of theocracy.”

So there!

4. S.C. official: Trans people should be put in camps.

It is tempting to suggest: Don’t drink and tweet. Well, we don’t know for sure that drinking was involved, but the former head of the South Carolina Republican Party went a bit bonkers with some recent rants on Twitter about transgender people and the people who support them.

“There are people who respect transgender rights,” Todd Kincannon tweeted this week. “And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That’s me.”

People? Or you?

Kincannon further opined that transgender people are “sick freaks” who should be “locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state.” He thinks this shows his compassion for these “sick freaks.”

This Kincannon fellow has a heart as big as all outdoors. Previously, he’s drawn attention to himself for calling it a shame an Iraq veteran did not come home in a body bag, mocked murdered teenager Trayvon Martin, and scoffed at the victims of Hurricane Katrina. But in another tweet, he said his hatred was limited: to commies.

Good to know.

5. Tea Party leader suggests “class action suit” against “homosexuality.”

While most rational people interpreted this week’s events as a rather strong rebuke to the Tea Party, Tea Partiers really didn’t feel too bad. So at their Tea Party Unity event on Thursday, Chairman Rick Scarborough floated another novel idea for the assembled haters and nut jobs to rally behind now that the darn federal government is reopened: filing a “class action lawsuit” against “homosexuality.”

Now, how exactly would that work, you might ask? Or, maybe more to the point, how does that even make sense? Here goes:

“Homosexuality,” argued Scarborough, a former Baptist minister, “is much more likely to lead to AIDS than smoking is to lead to cancer. And yet the entire nation has rejected smoking, billions of dollars are put into a trust fund to help cancer victims and the tobacco industry was held accountable for that.”

So, similarly, the gay industry, whatever that is, could be held accountable.

Continue reading here…

3 Comments

Filed under Tea Party

Kos’ Abbreviated pundit roundup: Analyzing the Tea Party

Daily Kos

Jon Favreau at The Daily Beast:

The Tea Party is the problem.The Tea Party is the most destructive force in American politics today. Over the last few weeks, it has demonstrated again that its intent is not to shake up the establishment but to burn down the village. As a Democrat, I disagree with its policy positions, but its policy positions alone are not what make the Tea Party so dangerous. What makes the Tea Party dangerous is its members’ willful disregard for the most basic tenets of American democracy. They do not believe in the legitimacy of our president. They do not believe in the legitimacy of decisions handed down by our Supreme Court. Unlike President Obama, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, or a host of other Democratic and Republican lawmakers who grasp the basic reality of politics, they have never, not once shown a willingness to compromise on anything. Merely uttering the word is enough to draw a primary challenge.

All this, despite the fact that the Tea Party represents the views of a small, ever-shrinking fraction of Americans. Even within the Republican Party, its members’ favorability hovers around 50 percent, the lowest of all time. Their recent legislative strategy, a word that can be used only in its loosest sense, led to 144 Tea Party House members voting against a bipartisan compromise simply to open the government and avert default. But when Reuters polled people who weren’t satisfied with last week’s outcome, only 2 percent said it was because the House passed the Senate’s bipartisan bill. Only 5 percent said it was because Republicans compromised. Only 3 percent said it was because default would have taught our government an important lesson. Most people said their main dissatisfaction was with the ugly process the Tea Party dragged us all through.

And yet, somehow, this small minority of Tea Party House members, who represent less than one half of one legislative body in one branch of government, has been given enormous influence over the national agenda—a situation without precedent in American political history. It’s insanity.

Maria Cardona at CNN:

The problem for Boehner as a leader of a fractured caucus is that he is listening to only a small but loud fraction of the American electorate. The voices of this America are vengeful if they don’t get their way. [...] [G]oing to the mat for the tea party might enable Boehner to push them hard to avoid this destructive path next time. It might give him the backbone he will need to stand up to them in the coming months and listen to the other “America” that represents more reasonable middle-of-the-road voices. These also happen to be a majority of the country — Republicans, Democrats and independents. They are the voters that decide presidential elections and are precisely the ones the tea party is alienating. [...]The bigger problem for moderate and pragmatic Republicans is that the tea party doesn’t care about the Republican Party’s shrinking White House prospects. But it does care about its own and about keeping control of the House of Representatives. This could be enough to get the tea party to rethink its strategy.

Americans have had it. The most recent CNN poll shows 54% of Americans think it is a bad thing for the country that the GOP controls Congress. For the first time ever, polls show 60% of voters are ready to boot all of Congress out — including their own representatives.

Jules Witcover at The Baltimore Sun:

Today, Mr. Cruz’ one-man assault on President Obama and more significantly on the leadership of his own party, both in the Senate and across the Capitol in the House, personifies a new McCarthyism on the Hill. It requires a similar intervention by the moderate voices among the congressional Republicans if the party is to restore its own reputation as a partner in responsible governance.Some will argue that Mr. Obama, as president, should remain above any personal confrontation with a single senator low on the totem pole as a freshman, leaving it to the Republicans to deal with Mr. Cruz. Such a presidential intervention, it will be said, will only elevate the brash Texan in the national spotlight, encouraging him to engage with Mr. Obama as a political equal.

But in the 1950s, Eisenhower learned the hard way that trying to ignore Joe McCarthy only encouraged him to press on with his phony attacks on communist infiltration of the Eisenhower State Department and elsewhere. Cruzism has not yet sunk to similar depths today. But the looks and smell of it are all too familiar to any observers of the era of McCarthyism still around.

Peter Schweitzer at The New York Times writes about how our campaign contribution system is essentially legalized extortion:

Consider this: of the thousands of bills introduced in Congress each year, only roughly 5 percent become law. Why do legislators bother proposing so many bills? What if many of those bills are written not to be passed but to pressure people into forking over cash?This is exactly what is happening. Politicians have developed a dizzying array of legislative tactics to bring in money.

Take the maneuver known inside the Beltway as the “tollbooth.” Here the speaker of the House or a powerful committee chairperson will create a procedural obstruction or postponement on the eve of an important vote. Campaign contributions are then implicitly solicited. If the tribute offered by those in favor of the bill’s passage is too small (or if the money from opponents is sufficiently high), the bill is delayed and does not proceed down the legislative highway.

Speaking of money, Juan Williams profiles the money war in the GOP:

As a very high-ranking Republican told me last week: “We have a total split between people who give us $30 and the people who give us $30,000.”The $30 donors are the Tea Party donors. The $30,000 donors are business groups. [...]
It has long been obvious there is money to be made in catering to right-wing anger by demonizing liberals in general and President Obama in particular. But, as Cruz and Palin demonstrate, the new whipping boy for the Tea Party is the current set of Republican leaders.

It is now Republican against Republican. Specifically, Tea Party Republicans against non-Tea Party Republicans.

The only force available to counter Tea Party dollars is big bucks from big business.

Finally, on the Healthcare.gov rollout, Chris Jennings, deputy assistant to the president for Health Policy, cuts through the media frenzy and lays out the facts:

The core of the law — health insurance — works just fine.These plans will not sell out. The prices will not change. We’re only three weeks into a six-month open enrollment period. And while the website will ultimately be the easiest way to buy insurance, it isn’t the only way.

You can call 1-800-318-2596 to apply. You can download an application on HealthCare.gov and mail it in. Or you can check out LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov to find out where you can apply in person. We’re confident you’ll find the new way of buying health insurance much easier than the old way.

The president did not fight so hard for this reform just to build a website. He did it to make health care more secure for people who have it, and more affordable and accessible for people who don’t. That’s what the Affordable Care Act does.

2 Comments

Filed under Kos' Abbreviated Pundit Roundup