2016 Hopefuls · GOP · Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow Sums Up GOP’s 2016 Predicament In a Single Sentence




“Jade Helm 15” is a planned military exercise slated to take place across the Southwest this summer, orchestrated by the Pentagon.

But to conspiracy theorists on the far right, it’s the planned takeover of Texas by the federal government. Walmart’s even involved, or so the paranoid fantasy goes, closing five of its stores to use as food-distribution centers and house invaders from China. Oh, and each of these Walmarts is also connected to one another by secret underground tunnels (Matthew Yglesias at Vox has a full explanation of the Jade Helm 15 Conspiracy.)

This is a UFO hunter’s fever-dream. But rather than treat this crazy conspiracy with scorn, Republican governor Greg Abbott is lending it legitimacy by having the state guard monitor the exercises. Even Texas senator Ted Cruz (R), who is running for president, asked the Pentagon about the planned takeover.

Rachel Maddow sees the fate of the Republican Party in the 2016 election writ large in the Jade Helm 15 controversy.

“This is one of those issues that is hilarious to the real world but is totally serious business in Republican world,” Maddow said on her show Wednesday night.

Maddow went on to point out the irony of accusing the military and Walmart — two institutions more often venerated than not on the right — of conspiracy, then said the Jade Helm 15 controversy has nonetheless made it into mainstream Republican politics.

“To most Republican politicians, particularly those competing for the Republican presidential nomination, where only Republican base voters will decide who’s allowed to run, if you have a choice between seeming insane to normal people and seeming righteous to the base, which are you going to pick?” Maddow said.

“There’s an incentive to pick seeming righteous to the base even if it is seeming nutty to everybody else,” she added.

And that, folks, is the GOP’s 2016 problem.


Affordable Care Act · Health Care Reform · Obamacare · Rachel Maddow · The Chamber of Commerce

The White House’s unlikely ally at the Supreme Court

A view of the Supreme Court, Jan. 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty)
A view of the Supreme Court, Jan. 16, 2015 in Washington, DC | Drew Angerer/Getty

MSNBC ~ Rachel Maddow Show

In recent years, one group has had more success at the Supreme Court than any other. It’s not Republicans. It’s also not conservatives, per se. It’s not the NRA, the Koch brothers, or the religious right movement.
In Justice John Roberts’ court, there’s been a lot for the right to like, but Big Business and Corporate America have consistently found a friendly ear among the majority of the sitting justices. With this in mind, Stephanie Mencimer’s report last night stood out as especially significant.
If getting rid of Obamacare is such a good idea, why isn’t corporate America getting behind King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court case designed to demolish the Affordable Care Act? More than 52 different parties have weighed in with briefs in advance of oral arguments on March 4…. But not a single business group – not the US Chamber of Commerce, not any of the health industry companies and trade groups that opposed the law when it was being drafted – has presented a brief endorsing this lawsuit.
These outfits are either backing the Obama administration’s attempt to defeat the suit or sitting out this case. Briefs in the case help explain why: Obamacare is working.
Mencimer pointed to a brief filed by the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the nation’s largest health care provider, which described the argument underpinning King v. Burwell as “absurd,” while also making the argument that the system at risk in this case is working quite well, both for the public and for America’s hospitals.
What’s more, it’s not just private medical institutions pushing against the ridiculous litigation. National Journal reported a couple of weeks ago that private insurers are doing the same thing.
In an amicus brief filed Wednesday, health insurers said a ruling against the subsidies would have widespread and severe ripple effects, potentially throwing states’ entire insurance markets into chaos.
Stopping the flow of subsidies “would create severely dysfunctional insurance markets” in 34 states, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s leading trade organization, said in its amicus brief. “It would leave consumers in those States with a more unstable market and far higher costs than if the ACA had not been enacted.” […]
AHIP … said the state and federal exchanges work the same as a practical issue. The subsidies and the law’s individual mandate are part of an interconnected series of policies designed to stabilize insurance markets, AHIP said – irrespective of who runs the exchange in any particular market.
We generally think of Big Business and Corporate America aligning themselves with Republicans, and for good reason; that’s usually true. But on the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans like to pretend is bad for the private sector, the usual partisan lines are blurred – the White House, insurance companies, hospitals, and even pharmaceutical companies are all telling the Supreme Court that this stupid case is genuinely dangerous, both to the American public and the American marketplace.
And that’s no small development. It’s quite easy to imagine Republicans on the Supreme Court ignoring the White House and deliberately gutting one of President Obama’s accomplishments, but it’s tougher to imagine those same justices blowing off private-sector leaders – the same corporate leaders hoping to avoid systemic chaos and shattered balance sheets.
Rachel Maddow · Rachel Maddow Blog

Citations for the November 27, 2014 TRMS

The Rachel Maddow Show / The MaddowBlog

The list of headlines from Steve Kornacki’s weather segment is too amazing to bury after the jump. I mean, look at this!:

November 27, 2013 – Weather walloping East Coast as roughly 43 million travel for Thanksgiving

New Yorker cover story: A “Broken Arch” for Ferguson

Unorthodox police procedures emerge in grand jury documents

Ferguson Library – ‏@fergusonlibrary – We are open 9-4. Wifi, water, rest, knowledge. We are here for you. If neighbors have kids, let them know teachers are here today, too.

Missouri SOS Office – ‏@MissouriSOS – Missouri State Archives staff are also available at @fergusonlibrary today to assist with records preservation. Drop by for help.

Missouri SOS Office – ‏@MissouriSOS – Staff from our Business Services Division is at @fergusonlibrary today to help local business owners. Drop by for assistance.

Ferguson Public Library oasis sign

HUFFPOLLSTER: Thanksgiving Edition 2014

Gallup: Congress and the Public

Obama Veto Threat on Tax-Break Bill Deepens Rift Among Democrats

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Use Strict Voter ID Law in Coming Election



Ginsburg Is Recovering After Heart Surgery to Place a Stent

SCOTUS statement on Ginsburg condition (pdf)

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

Rachel Maddow · Rand Paul

‘Unimaginable’: Rachel Maddow catches Rand Paul flip-flopping on the Civil Rights Act

Rachel Maddow 070214 [MSNBC] | Screenshot

The Raw Story

Four years after awkwardly skirting questions about the Civil Rights Act, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was suddenly happy to honor its 50th anniversary.

“Here’s Rand Paul, celebrating that law that he says, eh, he’s not sure he could have voted for,” Maddow said, displaying a statement posted on Paul’s website. “Today he says, ‘It is simply unimaginable to think what modern America would be like if not for’ that law to which he used to admit he was opposed. Now he’s its biggest champion. The word ‘unimaginable’ is exactly the right word here.”

The statement, Maddow said, was released in conjunction with Paul’s appearance at an event in Shelbyville, Kentucky, honoring a family of local activists, during which he “sang the praises” of not only people involved in the Civil Rights Movement, but the legislation itself.

“I don’t mean to be raining on the parade,” Maddow said. “But I have to point out that this does mark something of a shift in Rand Paul’s position on this legislation.”

Specifically, Maddow brought up their May 2010 interview, during which Paul — at that point still a senatorial candidate — said that while he agreed with nine of the ten provisions of the law, he would have tried to modify Title II, which prohibited private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race.

“What it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says ‘well no, we don’t want to have guns in here,’ the bar says ‘we don’t want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other,’” Paul said at the time. “Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion.”

“Well, it was pretty practical to the people who had the life nearly beaten out of them trying to desegregate Walgreen’s lunch counters despite these esoteric debates about what it means about ownership,” Maddow responded. “This is not a hypothetical, Dr. Paul.”

As the Washington Post reported last year, Paul has subsequently argued that it was a “mischaracterization” of his position to say he questioned the Civil Rights Act, an argument Maddow has rebuked.

Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Wednesday, HERE

Bible Belt · Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow Hammers Media For Booking Iraq War Hawks Who Got Things So Wrong

Rachel Maddow criticizes right-wing media for searching for bad news in an arrest in the Benghazi attacks, and American media broadly for re-engaging so-called experts on Iraq with terrible track records, and Congress for not taking its role seriously.

The Huffington Post

Rachel Maddow hammered her fellow members of the media on her Tuesday show for their continual booking of a series of Iraq War architects and cheerleaders to comment on the country’s current crisis.

Everyone from Bush administration official Paul Wolfowitz to disgraced former New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been trotted out across various networks to give their opinion about what should be done to combat the militant group ISIS. Maddow was clearly less-than-pleased by this.

“It is very frustrating to see that this is the way that we handle debates about foreign policy in this country,” she said. “We take people who were so, provably, terribly wrong and bring them back and treat them like experts on the very subject they were wrong about. It is maddening.”

Luckily, she had a solution:

“Hey Sunday shows! Hey op-ed pages! Hey cable news! Hey everybody! We know you are tempted to keep booking these yahoos on these subjects, but if you keep turning to the people who were famously wrong about Iraq to ask them about what to do about Iraq, you at least will be laughed at. And you will be embarrassed that you did this. And you will eventually have to apologize or at least explain yourself for why you thought Bill Kristol should be explaining what to do now. We can see what you’re doing, and it’s funny, but not in a good way.”

See Rachel’s video segment on MSNBC here…

Rachel Maddow

‘Big nutball day’ in D.C.: Maddow mocks Bundyesque ‘Operation American Spring’

Rachel Maddow 051514 [MSNBC]
Rachel Maddow 051514 [MSNBC]

The Raw Story

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow poked some fun on Thursday at the upcoming “Operation American Spring,” linking Friday’s event to a series of similar protests that talked big but ultimately failed to deliver on their promises of revolution against President Barack Obama’s administration.

“If the history of this political era is told honestly, and with an eye to the bigger picture in our country, the Obama era really should also go down in history for the amazing, repeated, self-aggrandizing, violent fantasy lives of the nutballs who most opposed him while he was president,” she said. “And I say this on the eve of what is sure to be another big nutball day in Washington and in Bunkerville. A big day tomorrow but maybe not as big as they think it’s going to be.”

Organizers for Friday’s event have vowed to bring between 10 million and 30 million people to Washington D.C. on Friday to demand the removals of not only Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, but Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). A second rally is scheduled to be held in Bunkerville, Nevada, where supporters of anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy have gathered.

They, have, however, also said they are urging their own elected representatives to draft articles of impeachment against Obama, and to call for a new constitutional convention.

“For context here, there are maybe like 320 million people in this whole country, and that includes babies and the infirm,” Maddow said. “But they are expecting 10 to 30 million people. That’s their plan for tomorrow, and if they’re expecting that many people, statistically speaking, you’re probably going.”

But, Maddow explained, Obama’s presidency has been marked by similar right-wing campaigns, like the “Ride For The Constitution” truckers’ protest, which promised to bring traffic around the Washington D.C. Beltway to a halt in October 2013, only to fizzle out. A month later, the “Reclaim America Now” event also vowed to bring millions to demand Obama leave the White House while somehow wanting to arrest him at the same time.

“They didn’t even get dozens of people,” Maddow said. “And I don’t know if they brought a jail for President Obama, but they did not end up arresting or jailing President Obama. It must have been a disappointment.”

Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Thursday on MSNBC, here…

Rachel Maddow

Bridenstine’s townhall gone wrong

Rachel Maddow

A Republican congressman in Oklahoma recently fielded a question at a town-hall event from a voter who said President Obama “should be executed as an enemy combatant.”   The congressman’s reaction made matters much worse.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) recently hosted an event in his Oklahoma district, where he fielded a noxious question from a constituent. Specifically, an unidentified woman suggested President Obama “should be executed as an enemy combatant.” She added, “This guy is a criminal, nobody’s stopping him.”
Ordinarily, this would be about the time a member of Congress – or really, anyone concerned with basic decency – would say such talk is inappropriate and an invitation for a chat with the Secret Service. But Bridenstine chose a different course, answering the woman by expressing some sympathy for her views.
“Look,” the congressman responded, “everybody knows the lawlessness of this president. He picks and chooses which laws he’s going to enforce or not enforce. He does it by decree.” Bridenstine, slipping even deeper into the fever swamp, added that Obama “uses foreign bodies, he uses, you know, the United Nations to change the laws in the United States.”
For the record, for those living in reality, the president has not used the U.N. or any foreign body to try to change domestic laws.
Regardless, why is it, exactly, an elected member of Congress seemed wholly unconcerned when confronted by someone who wants to see the president executed? Why couldn’t Bridenstine take a moment to say something, anything, about the recklessness of such comments, before he expressed some sympathy for her perspective?
We don’t know exactly when the congressman’s town-hall meeting was held, but eight days after the video was posted to YouTube, Bridenstine’s office issued a statement. Here it is in its entirety:
“A public figure cannot control what people say in open meetings. I obviously did not condone and I do not approve of grossly inappropriate language. It is outrageous that irresponsible parties would attribute another person’s reckless remarks to me.”
As best as I can tell, no one has attributed the voter’s comments to the congressman. Rather, many have questioned why the congressman didn’t denounce the remarks immediately, rather than waiting more than a week.
What’s more, while it’s true public figures aren’t responsible for what others say in open meetings, public figures are responsible for how they respond to disgusting speech. In this case, Bridenstine heard someone call for the president’s execution, and he responded with bizarre and plainly inaccurate rhetoric about presidential “lawlessness.”
Finally, I found it interesting that the congressman’s statement added that he “obviously” doesn’t condone what the woman in the video said. I’ve watched the clip a few times, and if he was troubled by the voter’s comment, there’s nothing “obvious” about it.
MSNBC v Fox News · Rachel Maddow

Christie’s Bridge-Gate Scandal Boosts Rachel Maddow To Ratings Victory Over Fox News

Rachel Maddow

This is an update to the article posted here…

News Corpse

The dominance of Fox News in the Nielsen ratings for cable networks has not been seriously challenged for most of the past several years. There have been periods that looked promising for the competition, particularly the months between the Democratic National Convention and the presidential election in 2012. During that time MSNBC was beating Fox on a regular basis as President Obama was doing the same to Mitt Romney. That trend was still in effect as late as January of 2013 when Fox reported steep declines in the key 25-54 demographic, while MSNBC shot upward.

Fox-MSNBC RatingsHowever, that state of affairs did not hold as the nation settled into a new year with the excitement of electioneering behind them. There would be little drama in the ratings race for the next few months. Eventually, Fox would enjoy a rebound as they ramped up their coverage of various scandals that they had been carefully crafting with their Republican allies. But even then they were suffering losses of the younger viewers that advertisers favor.

Last week, however, saw an unexpected bounce for MSNBC, and particularly Rachel Maddow. Her ratings in the demo thrust her into the number one spot for the whole week, ahead of Fox’s newly minted prime time star Megyn Kelly. Chris Matthews also benefited by tying the week with Greta Van Susteren, and Lawrence O’Donnell scored clean victories over Sean Hannity on a couple of days. This turnaround was surprising during a post-holiday lull, but there is a possible reason for it.

Maddow and her colleagues may have Chris Christie to thank for their ratings success. Their rising fortunes began at the same time that Maddow broke the story of the George Washington Bridge tantrum thrown by the Christie camp as political payback to unsupportive Democrats.

Let’s face it…Scandals have the same power to drive ratings in political news as they do in soap operas. The last ratings spike that Maddow enjoyed was when a video of Romney appeared showing him casting aside 47% of the American electorate as lazy moochers. And, as mentioned above, Fox exploited their own scandal sheet last may to recover from a long slump.

What this tells us is that, in order for MSNBC to consistently rise above Fox, they need to have as effective a scandal factory as Fox has. That’s a tall order because Fox has big head start in manufacturing fake scandals and the phony outrage that accompanies them. And for a network like MSNBC that has yet to exhibit much of an aptitude for inventing controversies that don’t exist in reality, they have some catching up to do.

Of course, Republicans have been more than generous in producing scandals for themselves, as the Christie affair so clearly demonstrates. The problem is that the so-called liberal media has not been especially good at taking advantage of the opportunities that were laid in their lap. But if MSNBC or CNN want to seriously challenge Fox’s ratings dominance, they had better show some improvement in that area in the future.

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