U.S. Politics

Archconservative Jim Inhofe Has Change Of Heart About Democrats

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

The Huffington Post

One of the most partisan Republicans in the Senate, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe, said Sunday that his “attitude” toward Senate Democrats has changed as a result of the outpouring of sympathy he received from colleagues after the death of his son. Perry Inhofe, 52, was killed in a plane crash in November.

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I seem to have gotten more — well at least as many, maybe more — communications from some of my Democrat friends,” Inhofe told host David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I’m a pretty partisan Republican.”

In the wake of his personal tragedy, Inhofe said, “all of a sudden the old barriers that were there — the old differences, those things that keep us apart — just disappear. It’s not just a recognition that I know how much more important this is, but they do, too. And they look out. And they realize that you’ve lost someone. And that brings us closer together.”

During three terms in the Senate, Inhofe has established a reputation as a take-no-prisoners political brawler, and as a legislator whose ideology is both fiscally and socially to the right of many in his party. An outspoken skeptic of the scientific evidence for man-made climate change, Inhofe has butted heads on the Senate floor over the issue with nearly every member of the Democratic leadership.

When news of his son’s death reached Washington, however, politics were quickly set aside. And even though Inhofe is a legendary thorn in the side of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the loss of Inhofe’s son served to underscore for him the things that he and Reid have in common.

“Harry and I … disagree on all this stuff, this political stuff. But we were both married the same year, in 1959. And we’ve both had some illnesses. So yeah, I would say that when something like this happens, you get closer together. The differences are still there. … But your attitude changes,” said Inhofe.

Like Inhofe, Reid is an unapologetic partisan. But in a speech Reid gave on the Senate floor shortly after Perry Inhofe’s death, the Majority Leader described the genuine friendship he’s formed with the Oklahoma Republican. “I really care a lot about Jim Inhofe, and he and I are unquestionably friends,” Reid told the assembled senators. “We may not agree on all political issues, but we agree that we’re friends. I’ve helped him when I could, and he’s helped me when he can.”

As friends, Reid said, he and Inhofe “put all the disagreements to one side and look at each other for what we are, outside of our politics.”

On Sunday, Inhofe suggested that his change of heart is likely to extend beyond personal dynamics to his work in the Senate. “I can’t help but think when I’m confronting someone on something in which we disagree, I’ll know how they responded to my loss. And how we got closer. And it’ll stay that way,” he said.

C-Span Video of Sen. Reid offering condolences to Sen. Inhofe

GOP Extremism · GOP Malfeasance

North Carolina Republican switches party affiliation: ‘I guess being American just isn’t good enough’ for the GOP anymore

North Carolina Republican congressional candidate, Jason Thigpen
[Image via Facebook]
Jason Thigpen is not the first GOP politician to come over to the left in recent weeks.   This indicates to me, that something is very wrong with today’s Republican Party…

The Raw Story

Yesterday, a North Carolina Republican congressional candidate switched his party affiliation to Democrat, saying that he “refuse[s] to be part of an extremist movement in the GOP that only appears to thrive on fear and hate mongering of anyone and everyone who doesn’t walk their line.”

In a statement posted on his website, Jason Thigpen criticized the establishment candidate, Walter Jones, saying “[t]he GOP leadership has such little regard and faith in the more than 1 Million people whom live in NC’s 3rd Congressional District that they don’t believe even one of us are good enough to represent OUR District. So they sent a lobbyist who’s lived in Washington, D.C. for the last 15 or more years. What an insult.”

Earlier this year, Thigpen attacked the strict new North Carolina voting law, writing that “[y]ou can paint a turd and sell it as art, but it’s still a turd.”

Thigpen is a six-year Army veteran and, according to his website, a recipient of the Purple Heart. “I didn’t go to war to defend the liberties and freedoms of one party, race, sex, or one income class of Americans,” he writes of the Republican attempt to suppress the vote.

“So, to come home from serving our country and see North Carolina legislators using their super-majority status to gerrymander districts and pass a law to deliberately suppress and oppress the voting rights of Democrats but more specifically minorities and college students, is absolutely deplorable.”

Thigpen is challenging Walter Jones in the 3rd Congressional District. Jones, a Republican, is also facing a far-right challenger with Tea Party affiliations.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Endorses Terry McAuliffe

hillary clinton terry mcauliffe
Virginia gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, right, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton look to the crowd during a campaign rally, Women for Terry, at the State Theater in Falls Church, Va. on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Clinton formally endorsed her family friend’s bid for Virginia governor, marking her first public campaign event since departing the State Department in February. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) | AP

This is a big deal.

Terry McAuliffe needs to win the Virginia governorship.  The GOP candidate, Ken Cuccinelli is a far right hardliner who has pushed through some of the most draconian legislation against women, gays and minorities during his time in office as Virginia’s attorney general.

By the way, the Commonwealth of Virginia is the only state holding a major election this year.

The Huffington Post

Hillary Rodham Clinton has joined Democrat Terry McAuliffe on the campaign trail, telling Virginia voters the nation is looking for a return to “common sense and common ground.”

Clinton formally endorsed her family friend’s bid for Virginia governor, marking her first public campaign event since departing the State Department in February.

The former secretary of state says voters are watching the race for a sign that the country would turn away from “divisive politics” after the government shutdown.

Clinton has largely avoided politics this year but is helping McAuliffe as well as former campaign aide Bill de Blasio in his bid for New York City mayor.

Democrats consider Clinton a leading candidate for the White House if she decides to run in 2016.


The torch has been passed to a new generation of Republicans


Born in the XXIst century, tempered by nothing, disciplined by a hard and bitter government shutdown, proud of their ancient confederate heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those privileges to which the white majority has always been committed, and to which they are committed today at home and around the world.

H/t:  Don Babets


Government Shutdown

Boehner wants to keep one hostage, briefly let the other go

                                                                               Associated Press

The Maddow Blog

Have you looked at the major Wall Street indexes this morning? As I type, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over 200 points, and as a matter of percentage, the S&P and Nasdaq indexes are doing even better. After weeks in which stocks were on a downward trend, what caused the sudden spike?

Wall Street is now under the impression that congressional Republicans are not going to use the debt ceiling to crash the economy on purpose. This leads to a variety of questions, not the least of which is whether Wall Street’s exuberance is rational.

It may not be. Jane Timm reports from Capitol Hill:

On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner proposed a short-term debt ceiling increase — if President Obama will negotiate on opening the government.

That plan may be presented to Obama this afternoon, when a delegation of Republican negotiators will meet at the White House.

And this is where things start to get messy.

We talked earlier about the subtle shifts in the Republicans’ posture, as it slowly dawns on them that they’re losing the public; they won’t achieve their goals through extortion; and they need to find a way out of the trap they set and then promptly fell into.

So, Boehner and his team came up with a plan. They’ll let the government shutdown continue, but raise the debt ceiling for six weeks. In exchange for not crashing the economy on purpose, Democrats will have to agree to participate in budget negotiations.

Will Republicans agree to let the government reopen during the budget talks? No.

Will Republicans take the prospect of a debt-ceiling crisis off the table? No.

Is there any chance in the world Democrats will consider this a credible solution? No.

Indeed, it’s already been rejected.

The White House indicated that while the president might sign a short-term bill to avert default, it rejected the proposal as insufficient to begin negotiations over his health care law or further long-term deficit reductions because the plan does not address the measure passed by the Senate to finance and reopen the government.

“The president has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills,” said a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The Democratic appeal to Republicans can basically be summarized in a few words: Just do your job. The government needs to be funded, so fund it — without strings attached or a series of demands. The debt ceiling needs to be raised, so raise it — without demanding treats or taking hostages. At that point, the parties can enter negotiations on just about anything and everything.

But the GOP’s new “offer” is predicated on the same assumptions as the other “offers”: Republicans won’t talk unless the threat of deliberate harm hangs over the discussion. It’s effectively become the GOP’s prerequisite to every process: only plans involving hostages will be considered.

Indeed, why raise the debt ceiling for just six weeks? Either Republicans are prepared to hurt Americans on purpose or they’re not. This is either a threat or it isn’t. Boehner is willing to put the pin back in the grenade, but he wants Democrats to know he’s prepared to pull it again around Thanksgiving?

I suppose it’s evidence of some modicum of progress that GOP officials are looking for a new way out of this mess, but this new “plan” is hardly any more credible than the others.

I wish I could share in Wall Street’s excitement, but I don’t.

113th Congress

Who had the worst week in Washington? Rep. Marlin Stutzman.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images – It wasn’t the finest hour for Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN).

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

Fix rule of politics: Never pick a political fight when you a) aren’t sure you can win and b) don’t have any idea what winning looks like.

House Republicans broke that rule when they refused to budge on their demand that any measure to fund the government beyond Sept. 30 be linked with a proposal to either delay or defund President Obama’s health-care law. Polling both before and after the shutdown began showed that more people blamed Republicans than Obama for the shuttering of the government, and it became abundantly clear this past week that the GOP couldn’t really explain how it could win this standoff.

Just ask Rep. Marlin Stutzman (Ind.). “We’re not going to be disrespected,” Stutzman told David Drucker of the Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Riiiight. (Dr. Evil voice.) Democrats, believing that Stutzman had encapsulated everything wrong with the Republican logic regarding the shutdown, pounced. Obama went on a lengthy riff on Stutzman’s comments during a speech in Maryland on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered a mock apology for “disrespecting” the Indiana Republican and had the quote blown up on a poster next to him at a news conference that day.

This is Washington, so, naturally, Stutzman sought to clarify his remarks. “Yesterday, I carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker Boehner’s work on behalf of the American people,” he said.

Too late.

Marlin Stutzman, for becoming the shutdown’s poster boy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.


GOP Cluelessness · GOP Malfeasance

Kos’ Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: GOP to discuss debt limit as fallback

Do Republicans know really what they want or is this entire debacle a ruse to hide their utter failure as lawmakers?

Daily Kos

conversation with Robert Costa via twitter

More from Robert Costa on the direction the GOP is moving:

“It’s the return of the grand bargain,” says one House Republican, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “There weren’t a lot of specifics discussed, and the meetings were mostly about just checking in. But he’s looking hard at the debt limit as a place where we can do something big.” …Per sources, entitlement reforms, such as chained CPI, an elimination of the medical-device tax, and delays to parts of Obamacare are all on the table as trades for delaying aspects of sequestration and extending the debt limit.

I suspect what @robertcostaNRO’s sources call a “debt bargain” is more unilateral Dem concessions in return for debt ceiling.
— @jonathanchait

Paul Ryan played a crucial role killing the grand bargain three separate times http://t.co/… Skeptical he wants a Grand Bargain now
— @jonathanchait

Leadership in corner. As aide explains, anything that that raises debt limit and funds gov’t has to be couched as “big good deal” for Rs
— @robertcostaNRO

Talked to several D aides. All dismissed idea of grand bargain. Might be they’re out of the loop. But also evident of how small talks are
— @samsteinhp
Suzy Khimm:

Republicans think Obamacare is so destructive that they watched the government shut down when Democrats refused to change the law.But two days later something strange has happened: Republicans aren’t coming up with new ways to try to dismantle or delay it.

Instead, they’re pushing dead-end mini bills that would fund popular parts of the government that President Barack Obama has promised to veto.
So as the shutdown drags on and Obamacare falls off the negotiating table, it’s left Republicans struggling to answer a basic question: What’s the fight even about?

Government Shutdown


The U.S. Capitol is pictured. | AP Photo


10/1/13 12:12 AM EDT

The government has officially shut down.

Two-party government proved as divided as ever, as House Republicans continue to insist on changing, delaying or defunding Obamacare as the price for keeping the government open, while Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama firmly rejected that position.

It’s the first government shutdown since 1996, when Newt Gingrich was the House speaker and Bill Clinton was president. Lawmakers continued to work into the early morning on Tuesday, but it was unclear how long the shutdown would last or what would be the pathways out.

Stripping Obamacare of its funding has been a centerpiece of the House Republican Conference since the party took the majority in 2010. But this is the first time the GOP has declined to fund government because of the law.

(POLITICO’s full government shutdown coverage)

The majority of polls show Republicans will bear the blame for this shutdown. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has privately warned House Republicans that they could lose their majority in 2014 as a result of shutting down the government.

House Republicans’ last-ditch effort Monday night was to try to pass a bill that would allow the leadership to appoint negotiators to a House-Senate conference committee to hash out an agreement on government funding. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would only assign negotiators if the GOP first passed a six-week funding bill without any changes to the Affordable Care Act.

The high-stakes legislative back-and-forth lasted for several unpredictable days — with the Senate on Friday first passing a funding bill without Obamacare language, only to have it rejected by the House on Saturday. The House passed several versions of its own bill to keep the fund the government — but with several caveats: first, defunding Obamacare; then a full year delay of Obamacare and a repeal of the medical device tax; then, a delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate and the cancelation of health-insurance subsidies for Capitol Hill lawmakers, aides and administration employees. The Senate dismissed each attempt.

Continue reading here…

Kos' "Sunday Talk"

Daily Kos’ Sunday Talk: Don’t fear the reaper

Daily Kos

When the Tea party first rose up in opposition to President Obama’s health care law (not to mention his blackness), it seemed harmlessenough.

The Republican party embraced the baggers, and harnessed their anger for gains in the mid-term elections—wresting control of the Housefrom Nancy Pelosi and the evil Democrats.

Finally, they would be able to repeal Obamacare, and repeal it they did; more than 30 times before the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality.

Undeterred by this legal setback, or by Obama’ssubsequent re-election, Republicans pressed on,voting several more times to repeal the law—all to no avail.

Now, with mere days to go before Obamacare’simplementation, they believe they’ve found a “winning” strategy.

According to their thinking, by forcing a government shutdown (for reals, this time), the law will be stopped in its tracks, and President Obama will bear all of the blame for the ensuing damage to the economy.

Never mind the fact that none of this is true.


Meet the Press: NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre; Mother of Aurora, CO Shooting Victim Sandy Phillips; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA); Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); RoundtableBill Kristol(Weekly Standard), Kim Strassel (Wall Street Journal), Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Tavis Smiley (PBS).

Face the Nation: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK); Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ); Former Secretary of State Henry KissingerRoundtableNancy Gibbs(TIME), Bobby Ghosh (TIME), David Sanger (New York Times) and John Dickerson(CBS News).

This Week: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA); Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Former Labor Secretary Robert ReichGwen Ifill (PBS);Jonathan Karl (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO); Roundtable:Brit Hume (Fox News), Amy Walter (Cook Political Report), Republican Strategist Karl Rove and Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

State of the Union: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Joe Hagan (New York Magazine); Former Chief Spokesman to President Bill Clinton Joe Lockhart; President of the American Conservative Union Al Cardenas; Republican Strategist Kevin Madden; Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile.

President Barack Obama

Inarguably, Hopelessly Black

Sadly, point well taken.

Mario Piperni

Every time I hear someone claim that their deep hatred for Barack Obama has nothing to do with his skin color, I have to smile – something I’m prone to do when confronted with a blatant lie. Naturally, there would be all kinds of nastiness and dirty politics by Republicans and conservatives no matter what color of skin a Democratic president had – that’s the way the game is played. But the fact that this president is black adds a level of viciousness to it all previously unseen in American politics.