GOP Radicalism · Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow – Hidden camera records awkward political spies

For various reasons I have missed the Rachel Maddow Show for about a week now.   I have it saved to watch but other interests are getting in the way.  So, I hadn’t seen this last night.  Sharing this for those who didn’t catch Rachel last night…

The Rachel Maddow Show

GOP Radicalism

8 Former Republicans Who Ditched the Extremist GOP


Several politicians have decided the GOP is too extreme, too intolerant and too cringe-inducing to bother with.

Party at historically low approval ratings, seemingly unable to win major national elections, and suffering a continuing string of embarrassing statements on women, some GOP figures are deciding that the R after their names is more a hindrance than a help.

Here are eight politicians who have decided the GOP is too extreme, too intolerant, and too cringe-inducing to bother with anymore (three of them left just in the past couple of weeks).

1. Jimmy LaSalvia:“Today, I joined the ranks of unaffiliated voters,” the founder of GOProudannounced on his website two weeks ago. “I am every bit as conservative as I’ve always been, but I just can’t bring myself to carry the Republican label any longer.”

LaSalvia labored for years to preserve a space for LGBT conservatives within the GOP’s shrinking tent. But watching the Romney campaign tack right in the primaries only to flail about during the general campaign was too much for the Republican to stand.

Lambasting the party for its “tolerance of bigotry,” LaSalvia said he gave up hope that party leaders would ever be able to squash the intolerance in its ranks. Until it did, LaSalvia said, it stood no chance of winning elections.

“I am an independent conservative,” LaSalvia wrote, adding: “That sounds much better than ‘gay Republican.’”

2. Pablo Pantoja:LaSalvias not alone in objecting to the Republican Party’s “culture of intolerance.” That was exactly what convinced former Republican National Committee Florida Latino outreach director Pablo Pantoja to ditch the party only a year after attaining his position. Born in Puerto Rico and a veteran of the Iraq War, Pantoja rose quickly through the ranks of the Florida GOP before the immigration debate brought out a nasty streak in his compatriots.

“The discourse that moves the Republican Party is filled with this anti-immigrant movement and overall radicalization that is far removed from reality,” he wrote in a letter to the Florida Nation, referring in all but name to Jason Richwine’s Heritage Foundation study that connected conservative immigration policy to claims about Hispanics’ lower IQ rates.

“Republican leaders have blandly (if at all) denied and distanced themselves from this but it doesn’t take away from the culture within the ranks of intolerance. The pseudo-apologies appear to be a quick fix to deep-rooted issues in the Republican Party in hopes that it will soon pass and be forgotten…When the political discourse resorts to intolerance and hate, we all lose in what makes America great and the progress made in society.”

It wasn’t just party leaders, either. Pantoja said his average conversations as outreach director were turning ugly. “I did have conversations about immigration where increasingly I had to defend the fact that the people most affected were human beings,” he said in an interview with Salon.

Pantoja joined the Democratic Party, and commemorated his departure from the GOP with a contribution to the ACLU.

3. Sue Wagner:Former Nevada state senator and gaming commissioner Sue Wagner was a Republican for 73 years before she decided last week she’d had enough. The first woman in Nevada ever elected to lieutenant governor changed her registration to “no party” after the GOP charged too far to the right.

“I did it as a symbol, I guess, that I do not like the Republican Party and what they stand for today,” Wagner told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I’ve been a Republican all my life. My dad was active [in the GOP] in the state of Maine where I was born. It was more of a moderate, liberal Republican Party.”

“It’s grown so conservative and Tea Party-orientated and I just can’t buy into that,” she said. “I’ve left the Republican Party and it’s left me, at the same time.”

Wagner was a vocal opponent of the GOP’s 2010 senatorial candidate Sharron Angle, whose campaign torpedoed the party’s chances of taking out Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and with it control of the Senate. After Angle said pregnant teens could “turn a lemon situation into lemonade” by declining to get an abortion, Wagner called the comments “the most extreme anti-abortion position I’ve ever heard.”

4. Neena Laxalt:Coming to your senses must be contagious. Just days after Wagner ditched the GOP, Neena Laxalt, a lobbyist and daughter of a longtime Nevada Republican family, changed her registration to non-partisan.

The daughter of Paul Laxalt, who served as Nevada’s governor and then for two terms as a U.S. senator, Laxalt was a Republican for 30 years before Wagner’s move encouraged her to drop the party.

“Nevada is traditionally a crossover state anyway,” she told the Associated Press. “People tend to look at individuals often and not just party…My father could not have won some of his races without crossover voters.”

If this keeps up, Nevada’s not going to have any Republicans left.

5. Carlo Key:Wagner isn’t the only Republican to feel the party has left her rather than the other way around. That same sentiment was voiced by Texas Judge Carlo Key when he quit the party last October.

“For too long the Republican Party has been at war with itself,” Key said in a video announcing his exodus. Citing “pettiness and bigotry,” Key blasted the GOP for demeaning his constituents based on race, economic status and sexual orientation. He made no bones about the fact that the driving voice for this ideological extremism was his fellow Texan, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

“I will not be a member of a party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office, rather than disqualifying them,” Key said. “I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundred of thousands of workers over a vain attempt to repeal [the Affordable Care Act] a law that would provide healthcare to millions of people throughout our country.”

Key will run for reelection as Democrat in 2014, joining Wendy Davis and the Castro brothers as part of a rising tide of young, competitive Texas Democrats.

6. Jim Campbell:The GOP’s stalwart opposition to healthcare reform has lost it legislators before. When both of Maine’s senators signaled opposition to what was still called the Affordable Care Act, it was the last straw for Maine State Rep. Jim Campbell. “Nobody has all the answers, but the Republican Party has none when it comes to healthcare reform,” he said at the time.

“I became a Republican because I believed the party stood for something,” he continued. “I hope to send a message to the Republican Party — and the Democratic Party — that enough is enough; it is time to stop blocking progress in the hope of partisan gain.”

7. Chad Brown:The former co-chair of the Polk County Republican Party of Iowa resigned from his post and left the party last August. Brown said he was put off by everything from Republican figures’ oft-repeated desire to eliminate the Department of Education to the party’s response, or lack thereof, to Representative Steve King’s (R-IA) hateful comments about immigrants.

Calling the Republican Party the “party of subtraction,” he wrote last week that “the GOP was founded on the ideas of expanding the rights and freedoms of Americans, but today it seems only interested in protecting the interests of rich, white men.”

“My opinion is the ‘Duck Dynasty Wing’ of the Republican Party has taken over the GOP, and they’re not about to retreat in their war on science and common sense,” he continued.

The Iowa GOP’s loss is very much the Democrat’s gain: Brown has taken his talents straight to the Polk County Democratic Party of Iowa Central Committee.

8. Roger Stone:The youngest member of Richard Nixon’s Campaign to Re-elect the President and the National Director of Youth for Ronald Reagan (he was appointed to the latter by Paul Laxalt, Neena Laxalt’s father), Roger Stone left the party for which he’d worked so hard last year, after he found it had irrevocably changed.

“Sadly, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan wouldn’t recognize today’s Republican Party,” Stonewrote in a Huffington Post guest op-ed. “The GOP went from being a Main Street party under Ronald Reagan to being the Wall Street Party again under both Bushes… Meanwhile social conservatives in the party demand litmus tests on issues like abortion and gay marriage equality from those who share their conservative economic and foreign policy views, making a cohesive coalition of social and economic conservatives ultimately impossible.”

Deflated by Mitt Romney, embarrassed by Newt Gingrich and creeped out by Rick Santorum, Stone found nothing in the modern Republican Party to inspire him. Now based in Florida, Stone dumped the GOP and registered as a libertarian.

The parting words of his post would be seconded by everybody in this list: “Goodbye, Grand Old Party.”

GOP Radicalism

Chamber of Commerce Wants to Rein in GOP: No More ‘Fools,’ ‘Loser Candidates’

Michele Bachmann – [Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]
Good luck with that COC…

The Raw Story

The GOP’s corporate allies have set a New Year’s resolution they hope will lead to electoral victory in the 2014 midterms: “No fools on our ticket.”

Republican House leaders are planning to impose discipline on unruly members to help avert the party squabbles that badly damaged the GOP brand, and major donors and advocacy groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads intend to develop and fund more centrist candidates.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the Wall Street Journal. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Presumably, Reed’s talking about candidates such as Mark JacobsBob Vander Plaats,  Chris McDaniel and David Barton.

Party leaders also plan to promote legislation, such as child tax credits and flextime for hourly workers, in hopes of appealing to working families.

“Working middle-class families are struggling to find a good-paying job, get ahead and keep more money in their pocket,” said Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “House Republicans will continue to offer conservative solutions that help create better conditions for them to succeed.”

Republican House Speaker John Boehner signaled this shift earlier this month when he chided conservative activist groups that opposed the two-year budget compromise.

The Speaker’s deputies also worked behind the scenes to quiet internal dissent by warning committee chairmen that opposition to the deal could jeopardize their committee posts.

“The Speaker, and the entire leadership team, urged all House Republicans to support the [budget] agreement, which lowered the deficit without raising taxes,” said Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel.

Committee chairmen had helped derail a farm bill earlier this year and extended the federal government shutdown.

Party leaders will test their clout next month when Congress considers a bill to keep the federal government running and later in the spring when lawmakers consider whether to extend the debt ceiling.

The debt-ceiling debate will take place as Republican primaries start in early March, and the party’s business wing intends to advocate against Tea Party candidates.

The Chamber of Commerce plans to spend at least $50 million to promote business-friendly candidates who they think can win a Republican Senate majority, and they hope the GOP House might pass a farm bill and reform the immigration system.

But conservative activists groups say that won’t happen.

“Lawmakers do not have a monopoly on information, and we will continue to communicate directly with their constituents on important legislation as it moves through Congress,” said Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, part of the Heritage Foundation think tank. “(Lawmakers) will find it difficult to go back home and defend votes that increase spending, increase deficits and undermine the rule of law.”

GOP Folly · GOP Radicalism

When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?

Republican - Elephants on Balloons  :

Good question.

I also, I wonder why “the stupid” is more prevalent within the GOP than anywhere else?  Joe Barton is the same Representative who apologized to BP for being charged with a $20 Billion claims fund after the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  He called it a shakedown.  That’s the guy who is the subject of the following Piperni post…

Mario Piperni

Is it time yet to make a double-digit IQ a prerequisite to running for public office?

Via Foolocracy:

Texas Rep. Joe Barton doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. That’s partially because he is firmly in the pocket of Big Oil. The oil and gas industry is the largest contributor to Barton’s warchest.

However, Barton’s fervor to deny that humans have anything to do with climate change has taken a new direction. In a bizarre reference to the Great Flood of the Bible, Barton is using that as evidence that hydrocarbons don’t change the climate. How Barton draws that comparison is going to have to be left to the imagination. Barton doesn’t elaborate on what forty days of rain in antiquity has to do with the present-day earth warming.

Perhaps he is thinking that today’s rising sea levels are the same challenge that Noah had building an ark. If only the answer to climate change was so simple. Here is the great environmental insight from Barton:

“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that climate is changing. I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence.”

“I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

It’s probably impossible to pack more stupid into a single statement but that won’t stop Barton and his fellow Texas Republicans (Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Steve Stockman – to name a few) from attempting to do that very thing the next time they find themselves in front of a microphone. You can count on it.

GOP Radicalism

Is the GOP Sincere in Denouncing its Bigots?

Good question…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading…

GOP Hubris · GOP Obstructionism · GOP Radicalism

On Peter King, Republicans, Fleas…and Marco Rubio

Republican Party - The Dark Side :

I’m such a fan of Mario Piperni’s work…

Mario Piperni

GoldenBoy Marco Rubio shows up in New York to fundraise and one of the state’s Reps, Republican Peter King, protests.

“Guys like Marco Rubio in Florida. All the money that your people have gotten in Florida over the years from every hurricane that came along. And this guy has the nerve to vote against money for New York and then come up here and try to raise money. You know, he can forget it.”

“I made it clear any of those people who voted and postured against money coming to New York and New Jersey and comes up here and wants to take money out of our pockets – forget it, stay home.”

A couple of thoughts on King’s little rant…

a) Consider Rubio to be another Mitt, only shorter and with a better command of Spanish. The man is a fraud who will say or do what he must to get the votes he needs in his quest to become the GOP candidate in 2016.


Marco Romney : MarcoRubio / MittRomney

After leading the Republican charge on immigration reform, Rubio is now hesitating as a bipartisan agreement is within sight. Why? Because the GOP base whose support he needs, opposes any form of amnesty for undocumented workers. In effect, Rubio finds himself in the exact same position that Romney was in – trying to appear to be a rational and reasonable politician while appeasing the crazies in the party.

He’ll discover, like Romney did, that it cannot be done.

b) King is upset with Rubio for voting against Sandy funding for New York and New Jersey. Cry us a river. How the hell did King expect Republicans to act? The man is a standing member of a political party that can best be described as suffering from severe sociopathic personality disorder – manipulative,  paranoid and delusional, showing lack of empathy, remorse, guilt or shame, callous in nature with a strong tendency toward pathological lying. And King himself shows many of these traits.

  • He opposed the 2009 stimulus package.
  • He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
  • He opposes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
  • He’s an Islamophobe. “There are too many mosques in this country… There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them.”
  • He voted for the Ryan budget that would slash social programs like Medicare and Medicaid that form the socials safety net for the aged, poor and middle class.
  • He’s voted to defund Obamacare despite the fact that it would help many of the 50 million Americans who cannot afford health care insurance.

Word of advice for Peter King. Don’t bitch about waking up with fleas when you lie down with dogs.


GOP Radicalism

Todd Akin’s Greatest Hits

Todd Akin

As most of you know, this blog is about “sorting out the crazies”.  Todd Akin may be at the top of the list in the GOP Crazies category.


An untold number of Americans first met Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) — the GOP’s nominee to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) — on Sunday, after he falsely claimed that women have a natural defense against becoming pregnant from what he called a “legitimate rape.”

Though the outlandish claim represents a fairly common view in the pro-life movement and the GOP, the backlash was so fast and severe that some GOPers are calling for Akin to abandon his candidacy, so somebody less tainted can take his place.

But even if Akin hadn’t exposed that he holds this controversial view, his candidacy wouldn’t have been a cakewalk. Although until this weekend he enjoyed a small lead over McCaskill, his record is thick with the sort of fringe views that prevented several GOP challengers from defeating Democrats in 2010. That’s why McCaskill, an unpopular incumbent, worked hard to assure Akin won his party’s nomination.

Here are some of Akin’s greatest hits.

Student Loans

In April, Akin cited a law Democrats passed in 2010 that saves billions of dollars by preventing private banks from profiting, risk free, on federally backed student loans as an example of the notion that “America has got the equivalent of stage three cancer of socialism, because the federal government is tampering in all kind of stuff it has no business tampering in.”

When offered the chance to clarify, he declined, saying “I called a spade a spade.”

Social Security

During a CSPAN appearance on March 2011, Akin raised strong objections to one of the nation’s most popular federal support programs. “Social Security, through the years, for many many people, has been a terrible investment. It’s really a tax is all it is. Social Security is a tax. The government is taking the tax — there’s more money coming in than going out — and we spend it. That’s not responsible. I don’t like it. I didn’t design Social Security. It was — it actually came from Bismark. FDR put it in place.”

First Amendment

In June 2011, Akin told Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, that “the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.”

Marital Rape

In 1991, as a state legislator, Akin questioned whether anti-marital rape legislation might be used “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.” He ultimately voted for the bill.

Civil and Voting Rights

Akin recently claimed that elections “historically have always been a state thing.” Without expressing opposition to the Civil Rights Act and other federal protections for ethnic minorities, Akin noted “I think we’ve come a very long way from those days,” adding, “I think we need to make sure that everybody has a right to vote — once,” a transparent nod to the inaccurate notion that voter impersonation fraud is a persistent problem that requires legal restrictions on voting.

School Lunches

In 2010, he was one of 13 to vote against expressing support for the goals and ideals of the National School Lunch Program.

Missing And Exploited Children

In 2003, he and 13 other Republicans voted against a five year reauthorization of a law that provides support for missing and exploited children.

In 2005, he was one of 52 congressmen to oppose legislation to create a national sex offender registry, compel convicted sex offenders to register, and impose mandatory sentences for convicted child molesters.

Anti-Abortion Violence

When he first ran for Congress in 2000 he fell under scrutiny for writing a 1995 letter of support to the 1st Missouri Volunteers — a fringe, anti-abortion private militia.

GOP Radicalism

All In Favor Of Public Hangings, Say “Aye”

As usual Mario Piperni sees things more clearly and logically than the Republicans he draws in his illustrations.   He writes about their weird and sometimes crazy antics and depicts it perfectly with his drawings.

There’s no secret that I am a die-hard Piperni fan.  Here’s yet another example…

Mario Piperni

From the compassionate conservative wing of the Republican party, Rep. Larry Pittman of North Carolina  speaks out .

“We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”

How long before execution by guillotine for liberals and atheists is proposed by Republicans?

The surprise or concern is not that wingnut politicians say stuff like this. Republicans have been running on CRAZY for a while now. No, the real worry should be that enough Americans voted for this guy to get him elected.

GOP Hubris · GOP Radicalism

Norquist: Republicans Will Impeach Obama If He Doesn’t Extend Bush Tax Cuts

This is absurd.  The GOP will stop at nothing to harass, humiliate and blackmail President Obama into conceding to their demands.

However, throwing around the word “impeachment” is mere hyperbole since they would need a majority in the Senate to succeed and although it may be by the narrowest of margins, the GOP do not have that majority and won’t have it in the near future.

Think Progress

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has long held a tight grip on the marionette strings of the GOP. Wielding undue influence as the head of the Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist ensures that Republican lawmakers sign his anti-tax pledge and threatens them with electoral defeat  should they even think of deviating from it. Norquist has marked a successful few years, killing the deficit super committee agreement,batting down  a tax increase on millionaires, and, of course, ensuring the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Pleased with his headway, Norquist is now mapping out how he can ensure further anti-tax victories by securing Republican majorities. In an interview with the National Journal, he mused that a GOP mandate would obviously enact an extension of the Bush tax cuts, work to maintain a repatriation holiday for corporate profits, and even pass House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan that jeopardizes Medicare. But when asked what Republicans should do if faced with a Democratic majority that won’t keep the tax cuts, Norquist had a simple answer: “impeach” Obama .

NJ: What if the Democrats still have control? What’s your scenario then?

NORQUIST: Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress.

Norquist certainly revels in his power , but suggesting Republicans impeach the president over tax cuts is wildly outlandish. According to the constitution , the president, vice president, or public officials can only be impeached for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Preserving a tax cut that gives more to the top 1 percent than the average income of the 99 percent hardly qualifies. But if Norquist’s only goal is to “crush the other team ,” it seems he’ll stop at nothing to do so.