GOP and Tea Partiers: it’s like deja vu all over again

The Maddow Blog

There was a certain irony to the timing. Yesterday, the House Republican leadership began a new outreach effort to leaders of the Latino community, trying to repair years of damage. And during their discussions, and assurances about the GOP’s sincerity, a far-right rally was underway on the national mall featuring anti-immigrant speeches from one Republican after another.

As Kate Nocera reported, Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) “was prepared to talk about immigration for six hours all by himself if he had to,” but it didn’t come to that.

But King didn’t have to talk by himself. Crowds showed up in droves. One member of Congress after another showed up to give speeches. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector dropped by to talk about his widely criticized study that the Senate’s immigration bill would cost $6 trillion (though there was no criticism from this crowd).

For King the outpouring of support from Tea Party groups and like-minded members of Congress was proof that his efforts to stall, and hopefully kill, the Senate’s immigration bill in the House were working. If party leaders had hoped King would sit this fight out, by day’s end on Wednesday he had made it abundantly clear he wasn’t going anywhere. […]

“This bill is at its core amnesty,” King said to cheers. “We’re here to today … to take this debate outside the halls of Congress. If it’s not going to be good enough inside, we’ll take it outside!”

To help underscore the larger problem, consider the fact that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) appeared at the event, spoke briefly in Spanish, and was heckled.

It’s true that immigration wasn’t the only subject discussed yesterday — the legion of far-right lawmakers were also eager to talk about the IRS. Imagine that.

But the point of the gathering was to condemn the bipartisan immigration legislation pending in the Senate: “Protesters wore T-shirts emblazoned with American flags and tea party slogans, and they waved homemade signs that read, ‘John Boehner: no amnesty, get a backbone,’ ‘Boehner: go home,’ ‘exporting illegals = importing jobs for Americans, stop socialism,’ and ‘if we lose rule of law we become Mexico.'”

And for a moment, if you lost track of the calendar, you might even think it was 2010, which isn’t exactly the Republican Party’s goal right now.

Indeed, consider yesterday’s event in the larger context: what have Republicans shown the nation lately? There was a Tea Party rally this week, which followed a big fight over an anti-abortion bill that can’t pass. In the states, we see a focus on culture-war issues, including state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds. On Capitol Hill, most Republican lawmakers are running around talking about “amnesty” and “illegals,” which is every bit as insulting as theirrhetoric about women.

Yesterday, we even heard talk about “takers,” as if the “47 percent” video never happened.

And on the horizon, many in the GOP are already planning another debt-ceiling crisis.

argued a week ago that the Republican Party’s “rebranding” effort had gone off the rails, but in retrospect, I probably understated matters. Party leaders hoped to apply some lessons from 2012 and move the party forward, but half-way through 2013, it’s clear Republicans are moving backwards.

Bill Maher To Letterman: ‘Tea Baggers’ Are ‘Corporate America’s Useful Idiots’

Sometimes it seems like our political comedians are the smartest guys in the room


David Letterman gleefully sprung open a can of worms on his show by asking liberal host Bill Maher  about his “Tea Party pals.”

Maher said “Tea Baggers” (a moniker he’ll continue to bestow upon advocates of the Tea Party movement, he explains, as long as “they” continue to refer to President Obama’s health care initiatives as “Obamacare”) are “sad, unfortunate people” because they are “corporate America’s useful idiots.” He continued:

Their whole campaign is based on money. It’s all about “we have too much debt,” “the deficit is too high.” They are, after all, named after a tax revolt.

But, you know, there’s this thing called facts. Where did all this debt come from? Well, the facts will tell us it was mostly ran up under Bush. Two wars that we put on the credit card. Prescription drug program that was unpaid for. Tax cuts for the richest one percent that was unpaid for. Where were the Tea Party then? Crickets.

Maher, for one, has a theory about why that was – the rise of “President Nosferatu:”

There’s just something about him that they don’t like. I can’t put my finger on what it is. But there’s some way that he’s just not like them. I don’t know what…

He’s skinny, that must be it. He’s skinny, they’re fat, and he’s skinny.

Watch Maher continue to make friends, via CBS:

See video here…

The Top 10 Craziest Quotes by Tea Party Candidates

Huffington Post

Regardless of the outcome of the 2010 elections, the Tea Party has already made history by spawning the craziest crop of political candidates America has ever seen. Judge for yourself by reading this assemblage of Tea Party wisdom on everything from Nazi reenactments and violent revolutions to masturbation, witchcraft, and mice with human brains. Help pick the nuttiest Tea Party candidate by rating their most ridiculous quotes so far.

Sharron Angle

“I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” —Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, floating the possibility of armed insurrection by conservatives, interview with right-wing radio host Lars Larson, Jan. 14, 2010 (Source)

Christine O’Donnell 

“American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.” —Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, discussing cloning with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, 2007 (Source)

Rich Iott 

“I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country (Nazi Germany) that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things.” —Ohio GOP House candidate and Tea Party favorite Rich Iott, explaining why for years he donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments as part of a group that calls itself Wiking, Oct. 2010 (Source) Iott later said the Nazi soldiers “were doing what they thought was right for their country.” (Source)

Sharron Angle

“People ask me, ‘What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?’ Well, that’s not my job as a U.S. senator.” —Sharron Angle, May 14, 2010 ( Source)

Christine O’Donnell

“It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. You can’t masturbate without lust! … You’re going to be pleasing each other. And if he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?” —Christine O’Donnell, advocating against masturbation in a 1996 MTV interview (Source)

Joe Miller

“The first thing that has to be done is secure the border … East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow. Now, obviously, other things were involved. We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border. If East Germany could, we could.” —Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller, on how to deal with illegal immigration, Oct. 17, 2010 (Source)

 Glen Urquhart

“Do you know, where does this phrase ‘separation of church and state’ come from? It was not in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. … The exact phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ask them why they’re Nazis.” —Glen Urquhart, the Tea Party-backed Republican nominee for the Delaware House seat held by Rep. Mike Castle, April 2010 (Source)

Christine O’Donnell

“I’m not a witch…I’m you.” —Christine O’Donnell, in a 30-second ad responding to a video clip from a 1999 appearance on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” in which she said, “I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did… I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do… One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.” (Source)

Stephen Broden

“Our nation was founded on violence. The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms.” —Tea Party-backed Texas GOP congressional candidate Stephen Broden, suggesting the violent overthrow of the U.S. government if Republicans don’t win at the ballot box, interview with Dallas’s WFAA-TV, Oct. 21, 2010 (Source)

Sharron Angle

“So that’s what we want is a secure and sovereign nation and, you know, I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don’t know that. What we know, what we know about ourselves is that we are a melting pot in this country. My grandchildren are evidence of that. I’m evidence of that. I’ve been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada State Assembly.” —Sharron Angle, speaking to a group of Hispanic high school students, Oct. 15, 2010 (Source)

See all 20 quotes and slideshow here…

Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day – Reality Check (Redux)

Campaign For America’s Future

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there that Tea Partiers and the GOP (one in the same, actually…) are spreading:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.

This stuff really matters

H/t Kato

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Angle Campaign Used Decoy To Duck Press: Nevada Reporters

Sharron Angle, Republican
Image by Mike Licht, via Flickr

Why won’t “Tea Partiers” answer questions from the press?  What are they afraid of?

Huffington Post

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle used a decoy to dodge members of the press at an event on Monday, a reporter on the scene tells the Huffington Post.

The Tea Party-backed pol, who has avoided public appearances since offering racially insensitive remarks to a group of Hispanic students, left reporters waiting at an event at a Microsoft Licensing office for nearly two hours (between the time she showed up late until they realized that she had actually left). Getting out of the building without being noticed, however, was tricky. According to Mackenzie Warren, a morning reporter for Reno’s NBC-affiliate, KRNV, a staffer for Angle’s campaign suckered the press by making it appear that she would be leaving the front entrance (the one she initially entered) while she was, instead, exiting through a side door.

We were standing on the sidewalk and there were one of three buildings, so we called to make sure we were at the right building. Sharron Angle was supposed to show up at 10:30 a.m. to do the work place visit and it wasn’t until a few minutes past 11 a.m. that she finally did. I was staking out another entrance when she did arrive but all everyone got was a 15-second view of her being walked in. People were asking: ‘Are you going to talk to us?’ But she just walked straight in.
I came around to the front and we waited for nearly two hours. And the security guard was being very strict, not letting us step foot in the parking lot. Then a different car came up, not the one she arrived in, an SUV. it pulled into the front and her entourage was there, maybe 10 of people, a lot of people from her camp. And one of the guys from her camp got on her cell phone and very audibly said, ‘Hello, O.K., Is she ready? Is she coming down now? O.K. we are out here.’

So then, of course everyone starts rolling. And then shortly thereafter, two women come out and get in the car. It threw us for a quick second and neither of them were Sharron Angle.

A little later, I went over to the side entrance again to stake that out. We waited for a little while longer. At that point I convinced the security guard that I had to go to the bathroom and he let me in. I ran into the lady in the bathroom, asked her about the speech and asked her if she was still here. She said no, she left. ‘Out the front door?’ I asked. And she said no.

Continue reading…

How to fight Tea Party’s faux populism

USA Today

For generations, conservatives have appealed to fear to protect the privileged and preserve the status quo — fear of immigrants, fear of diversity, fear of big government. For conservatives in 2010, it’s easy:




Meanwhile, for more than a century — in churches and temples, in union halls and neighborhood centers, in the streets and at the ballot box — progressives have moved the country forward. Progressives brought us minimum wage and Social Security in the 1930s, civil rights and Medicare in the 1960s, and health care and Wall Street reform in 2010

Opponents of these accomplishments — some of society’s most privileged and well-entrenched interest groups — have not changed much. The John Birch Society of 1965 has bequeathed its fervor and extremism to the Tea Party of 2010.  

History tells us that rage on the right should not be confused with populism. The far right attacks government regulation as it feeds Wall Street and the insurance companies. It rails against government spending for the least privileged as it lavishes tax cuts favoring the most privileged.  

No one should be surprised over what has happened in the last 18 months:  

  • We passed health care reform, so the insurance companies are coming after us at election time.
  • We enacted consumer protections for homeowners and credit card users, so Wall Street is spending millions to defeat us.
  • We worked to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, and now large multinational corporations are doing everything possible to beat us.
  • We already know the damage that comes from the right’s rage. During President Clinton‘s eight years, our country added more than 22 million private sector jobs, incomes went up, and we enjoyed the largest budget surplus in U.S. history.

In the following eight years of the Bush administration, only 1 million jobs were added, incomes stagnated or plummeted for most Americans, and we were left with record budget deficits.

 Yet Republican candidates in 2010 are offering the same faux populism and “solutions” of the Bush years: more tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of special interests, and trade agreements that cost us millions of manufacturing jobs. And in places like my state of Ohio, they are even offering up as candidates the same people who got us into this mess.

To fight back, progressives must talk about the historic accomplishments of the last 18 months in specific, understandable terms:

  • We saved the U.S. auto industry in the face of naysayers’ exhortation to “let the market work,” and our efforts preserved hundreds of thousands of jobs.
  • We passed health care reform that improves drug benefits for senior citizens, provides coverage to those with a pre-existing condition, allows a 22-year-old daughter home from college to stay on her parents’ insurance, and promises health care for millions of Americans.
  • We made college more affordable for students and passed historic legislation for our nation’s veterans and for equal pay for women.

If you have a 401(k), take a look at it today and compare it with the day before President Obama was inaugurated. Back then, 750,000 jobs were being lost each month, with 22 consecutive months of job loss costing 8 million jobs. We’ve got a long ways to go, but this year we’ve seen eight straight months of private sector job growth.

Is this enough?   No, which is why progressives must rally and persevere.   Continue reading…

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Tea Party Woes

Randi Rhodes Blog

What happens when the Tea Party universe collides with reality? Surprise, surprise—it turns out that a lot of people in Tea Party whacko and New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s inner circle have shady pasts. In fact, the only thing in New York State with a more tainted past than Carl Paladino’s inner circle is Love Canal.

One Paladino adviser has been indicted on charges of stealing more than $1 million from Michael Bloomberg’s re-election bid last year. What kind of advice does this advisor give? “Hey, why don’t you let me take care of the checkbook?” Yeesh! Who is dumb enough to hire an advisor who stole from his last employer? That would be like hiring a convicted drunk driver to be your driver. Oops. Paladino did that too. Yep. Paladino’s driver is a drunk driver.

Paladino’s campaign advisor stole money from another campaign. I can only assume that Paladino’s press spokesperson has Tourette Syndrome. Hey Carl, do you need a dog walker? Michael Vick is out of jail. Here’s an idea, Carl—put the drunk driver in charge of your campaign money, and let the embezzler be your driver. That way at least they’re not dealing with their field of criminal expertise.

In a separate reality check, both Sharron Angle and her husband receive healthcare from the federal government. So if Sharron Angle says she wants to get government off of your back, it’s only so it can take care of her needs. Angle gets federal health insurance through her husband, who is a retired federal employee. They also get a federal pension check. Sharron Angle didn’t respond to the revelations—maybe her mouth was full, sucking on the government teat.

Finally, Christine O’Donnell has been claiming that she studied at Oxford.  You don’t have to be an Oxford grad to figure out that’s not true. O’Donnell’s LinkedIn bio page lists “University of Oxford” as one of the schools she attended. Not likely. A quick perusal of Oxford shows that they don’t even offer courses in witchcraft, creationism, or masturbation avoidance. In reality, Christine took a course from the on-line Phoenix Institute, which rented space at Oxford. What is this? A mail drop? It sounds like Christine O’Donnell was at the educational equivalent of a Cayman Islands business address. A spokesman for the Phoenix Institute called O’Donnell’s claim that she went to Oxford “misleading.” I think the proper term is “lying,” but then I never took a semantics course at Oxford.

Sal Russo, Tea Party Express Strategist, Fought For Christine O’Donnell Victory

Huffington Post

Sal Russo, a consultant whose roots in Sacramento stretch back to Gov. Ronald Reagan’s days, took a direct hand in O’Donnell’s victory Tuesday. He is the brains behind the Tea Party Express, one of several campaign operations that lays claim to representing the tea party movement.

The organization has led two national bus tours and will begin a third this weekend with a rally against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his hometown in Nevada.

But the man behind the organization is anything but a fresh-faced activist. The architect of the Tea Party Express, Sal Russo, is a California political operative who has spent nearly half a century campaigning for Republican candidates.

The Sacramento-based political action committee that funds Tea Party Express activities, Our Country Deserves Better, has taken in more than $4.5 million since forming in 2008 to help John McCain’s presidential campaign. That includes major contributions from corporate executives and other bedrock supporters of conservative candidates, such as actor Chuck Norris.

The organization is elevating its profile this week as it rallies against Reid, who has become a poster child for what is wrong with Washington in the eyes of conservatives as he runs for re-election.

The event will feature a speech by Sarah Palin and launch a 42-city bus tour culminating with a tax day rally in Washington.

That the Tea Party Express is led by operatives such as Russo has caused some resentment among others in the tea party movement. They believe the group has blurred the line between what they see as a nonpartisan effort and the GOP establishment.

Sunday Talk – You’ve Got To Hand It To Them

Daily Kos

This was the week the Tea Party finally secured its place in American history books (pending approval from the Texas Board of Education).

Whereas, until now, teabaggers had been content with nominating fringe lunatics like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle for Senate seats, this time around they chose someone well within the mainstream of lunacy.

What Christine O’Donnell lacks in experience, she more than makes up for with her vast knowledge of crime scene forensics, suntan lotion marketing, satanic rituals, dorm room living, STD prevention, radiocarbon dating, human-animal hybridisation, and the collected works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

She truly epitomizes outside the box thinking.

Morning Lineup:

Meet the Press: Former President Bill Clinton; Former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Face the Nation: Former President Bill Clinton; US Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell (R-DE); Republican Strategist Ed Rollins; Michael Gerson (Washington Post).

This Week: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Roundtable: Delaware State Republican Chairman Tom Ross, George Will (Washington Post), David Sanger (New York Times) and Peter Beinart (Daily Beast).

Fox News Sunday: US Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell (R-DE); US Senate Candidate Joe Miller (R-AK); Republican Operative Karl Rove; Roundtable: Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Nina Easton (Fortune), Sociopath Liz Cheney and Juan Williams (NPR/FNC).

State of the Union: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC); DNC Chairman Tim Kaine; Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA); Former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn; Reliable Sources: John Avion (CNN); Craig Crawford (Congressional Quarterly); Debra Sanders (San Francisco Chronicle); Tina Brown (Daily Beast).

The Chris Matthews Show: Gloria Borger (CNN); Chuck Todd (NBC News); Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune); Kelly O’Donnell (NBC News).

Fareed Zakaria GPS: Former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Leader Noman Benotman; Chrystia Freeland (Reuters); Author Bernard-Henri Lévy; Kathleen Parker (Washington Post); Dan Senor(Council on Foreign Relations).

When Stupid People Don’t Know They’re Stupid

Ring of Fire – Mike Papantonio

[Ring of Fire] has been discussing the dangers of Glenn Beck’s incendiary rhetoric for years on Ring of Fire, but in the last year, his actions have been taken to a whole new level. And with his recent Tea Party rally in Washington, it became clear that Beck isn’t the only problem out there. We now have tens of thousands of Beck followers in this country who believe that they are intellectually superior to the rest of us, and after seeing how truly brainwashed these people are, this is a very dangerous thing. Mike Papantonio talks about how this brainwashing took place with blogger and author Chauncey DeVega.