Monday, September 27, 2010

A Political Blowjob

Just Go Standover There ....
September 26, 2010

On Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace noted that the GOP’s “Pledge To America” has been widely panned even by conservatives. In response, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who played a lead role in drafting the Pledge, claimed that two publications praised his plan:

WALLACE: Congressman McCarthy, a number of conservatives aren’t buying this. Let’s take a look at what Erick Erickson, of the conservative website RedState had to say about this document. He said “it is full of mom-tested, kid-approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.”

MCCARTHY: But National Review says it’s bolder than the Contract of ‘94. Wall Street Journal says it will do more to shrink the federal government. It’s like when the Contract came out. There’s going to be attacks on both sides.

© Just Go Stand Over There Somewhere... .

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Scam On America

Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Brad Johnson, and Tanya Somanader
The Progress Report
September 24, 2010

With great fanfare, House Republicans unveiled their "Pledge to America" yesterday, a document comprised primarily of attacks on legislation passed under President Obama. "The 45-page booklet explaining the Pledge contains archaic fonts reminiscent of the founding texts," writes the Washington Post's Dana Milbank. "Yet for all the grandiosity, the document they released is small in its ambition." Further investigation of the final release -- once the attacks on an "arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites" and the full-color photographs of the House Republican elite are overlooked -- reveals that the "2010 Republican Agenda" is little more than a re-affirmation of the "Party of No." Yesterday's Progress Report noted that the entire economic platform of the pledge is a return to Bush's tax cuts and spending levels, the failed policies that brought us the worst recession since the Great Depression. The promised combination of regressive tax cuts, deficit reduction, and new spending in the Pledge is "fuzzy Washington math," charges Newsweek's Ben Adler. Energy policy is dispatched in one sentence. The Republican plan on health care is to replace the Affordable Care Act with provisions from the Affordable Care Act. "The Pledge to America should have been called the Scam on America because it does nothing to help Americans," writes the Examiner's Maryann Tobin, "unless of course they are CEOs of big oil companies, drug companies, or Wall Street bankers." Conservatives found the document risible as well. "It is a series of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama," charged right-wing blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson. "We're not going to be any different than what we've been," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said at the Pledge's revealing. "It's not even a sequel!" the Daily Show's Jon Stewart responded. "It's like a shot-by-shot remake."

GOP PLEDGE TO LOBBYISTS: As the Huffington Post's Sam Stein revealed yesterday, the GOP's new "Pledge to America" was directed by a staffer named Brian Wild who, until early this year, was a lobbyist at a prominent D.C. firm that lobbied on behalf of corporate giants like Exxon. Moreover, the insurance industry is the leading contributor to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the Republican who led the effort. "Instead of a pledge to the American people, Congressional Republicans made a pledge to the big special interests to restore the same economic ideas that benefited them at the expense of middle-class families," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer argues. Consistent with its desire to placate lobbyists, the pledge omits any mention of a key Republican mantra: a ban on earmarks. When it comes to energy policy, the GOP leaders ignore public opinion and science, instead promoting the same old ideas flogged by Big Oil lobbyists and other energy interests: more oil drilling ("increase access to domestic energy sources") while disregarding pollution ("oppose attempts to impose a national 'cap and trade' energy tax"). The GOP pledge would also halt clean energy investments made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and block new safety, health and environmental rules. "Rather than listening to the American people, the pledge listens to polluter lobbyists," describes Center for American Progress Action Fund senior fellow Daniel J. Weiss.

RETURN TO RADICALISM: After Obama took office, a number of GOP officials and candidates embraced "tentherism," the radical belief that everything from Medicare to Social Security to unemployment insurance to belonging to the United Nations violates the Constitution's Tenth Amendment. Until the "Pledge to America," however, it's been an open question whether the GOP as a whole would embrace this absurd viewpoint, or whether they would leave tenther rhetoric to fringe figures such as Michele Bachmann, Joe Miller or Sharron Angle. The first passage is a pledge to read the Constitution as a tenther document, putting essential programs like Social Security or Medicare on the chopping block. "The constitutional lunatics are now in charge of the GOP's asylum," writes CAP policy analyst Ian Millhiser. Ignoring immigration reform, the Pledge proposes an enforcement-only approach to immigration and appears to endorse and promote Arizona-like immigration policies. Given that 54 percent of all Americans regard the immigration issue as "very important" and that a majority of voters -- across party lines -- support immigration reform, "it's surprising the GOP didn't provide more details," the Wonk Room's Andrea Nill responds.

IGNORING AMERICA: Stripped of pablum, giveaways to lobbyists, and Bush-era ideas, little is left in the "Pledge to America." In fact, the "Republican Agenda" ignores some of the most essential challenges facing the United States. Global warming is nowhere to be found, even though this is the hottest year in recorded history. Even more remarkably, there is no plan for Iraq or Afghanistan. There is no mention of how Republicans plan to deal with either war and no acknowledgment that this year was the deadliest year in Afghanistan. Of the eight points in the plan devoted to national security, over half are devoted to keeping people out of America, indicating that the Republican House leadership simply doesn't know how it wants to engage the world. The agenda is supposedly the culmination of a project GOP lawmakers launched -- America Speaking Out -- which was designed to give the public a virtual platform to submit ideas and then vote on them. It may not be surprising that the Republicans ignored the highly popular ideas to decriminalize marijuana use, a ballot issue in five states this November. But they also deliberately ignored the most popular "job creation" idea, to "stop the outsourcing of jobs" by eliminating tax breaks for outsourcing companies.

Copyright 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christine O'Donnell's witch trials

Dana Millbank
The Washington Post
September 21, 2010

Double, double toil and trouble;
Witches burst O'Donnell's bubble.
Christine O'Donnell, the Delaware Republican Senate nominee who 11 years ago claimed she "dabbled into witchcraft," now attributes this to hanging out with "questionable folks in high school" and assures her supporters that "there's been no witchcraft since."
This flip-flopping, however, appears to have cost O'Donnell the Wiccan vote. The Huffington Post's Sam Stein reached the Rev. Selena Fox, High Priestess and Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary, a pagan non-profit, who complained that O'Donnell "is actually defaming Wiccans."
If angry witches don't spell trouble enough for O'Donnell, she's also in some potential trouble with the Federal Elections Commission. CNN reports that for 13 months, between July 2009 and August 2010, O'Donnell was her own campaign treasurer. This might explain why nobody objected when she allegedly used campaign funds for personal expenses such as rent.
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Bob Cesca
Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog

September 19, 2010

Even the "values voters" don't have much confidence in Palin.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Conservative voters chose the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, Mike Pence, as their top choice for president for 2012 in a straw poll on Saturday.
The nonbinding opinion vote among 723 social conservatives attending what organizers called the "Values Voters Summit" put former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in second place for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, with 22 percent of the vote, compared with Pence's 24 percent.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin placed fifth, with 7 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney placed third, with 13 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich placed fourth, with 10 percent.
Aren't the values people Sarah's people? I wonder if, for them, it's a woman thing or a pregnant teenager thing or, as with the rest of us, an incompetence thing. Maybe all of the above.
© Bob Cesca's Goddamn Awesome Blog!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Christine O'Donnell rehabilitation is almost complete

War Room
September 17, 2010

Christine O'Donnell just made her glorious debut as a national political figure, with a stirring speech to the Values Voters summit in Washington, DC. She knocked it out of the park, by which I mean, like Sarah Palin's 2008 convention speech, a disastrously unprepared candidate demonstrated an ability to competently read.
Her speech was almost completely free of the delightful nonsense that has peppered her entire career as a professional sayer-of-dumb-shit on TV. She did share a favorite bit of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books. (To much applause, because who doesn't love Aslan the Jesus-lion?).
She repeated the usual boilerplate about defending liberty and the Constitution and how all the elites are out to get regular Americans, like Christine O'Donnell. "They call us wacky," she said of these elites. "They call us wingnuts. We call us, we the people."
Oh, but she also joined the usual Tea Party liberty rhetoric with the old-fashioned Values Voters meat-and-potatoes social conservatism. Barack Obama's jackbooted thugs will personally buy your daughter an abortion, but "they won't let her buy a sugary soda in a vending machine."
"We grew up in a time of peace, a time of prosperity," O'Donnell, said, though she pretty much grew up in the '70s.
It hardly matters what she actually said, though, because after a few days of the logical reaction to her victory -- basically, "ha ha ha" -- professional analysts and pundits are bored and it's time to change the narrative. The new story is, "is everyone wrong about her chances?"
O'Donnell's been on TV since before there was a Fox news, so she's not afraid of doing "real" interviews. She'll hit Face the Nation this Sunday.
But barring the unfathomable, liberals should remember that she'll be a much more successful national conservative figurehead than candidate for office in the quiet, liberal state of Delaware.

Copyright ©2010 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Go ahead, thank the GOP for Iraq

Rachel Maddow
The Rachel Maddow Show
Wed Sep 1, 2010

Today is the first day since March 2003 that the U.S. has not been actively at war in Iraq. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama marked the end of combat in Iraq with an Oval Office speech thanking troops for their sacrifice.
It was never clear why we were there in the first place -- President Bush's rationale for the war shifted from links to 9-11, to weapons of mass destruction, to creating a new democracy, to Saddam Hussein being a bad man. But there were no links to 9-11 or weapons of mass destruction. Yes, Saddam Hussein was a bad man, but as Richard Engel told us last night, there is still no real democracy in Iraq and the country has become a "basket case."
On the occasion of President Obama's speech, the Republican leadership decided they and President Bush should get more credit, especially for the surge in troops that was supposed to lead to an Iraqi government and hasn't.
In the opening segment of last night's show, Rachel Maddow made this assessment of the war in Iraq:
Two American things have been accomplished in Iraq. Tens of thousands, more than a million Americans served their country in a horrible war for seven and a half years under horrible circumstances and under political leadership that was not honest about why they had been sent there. Those Americans are to be honored for what they did and what they gave and they are to be taken care of as veterans now that they're home.
The other accomplishment in Iraq is that we have finally found a way to leave, to get combat troops out, now.
Those two accomplishments belong to this president, who's overseeing the withdrawal from Iraq, and to the people who served -- the people who served honorably for these seven and a half long years.
Credit for all the rest of it, for the made-up reasons for going in, for going in in the first place, for letting Afghanistan spill out of control in favor of this war, for the constant revisions for the justifications for war to obfuscate the craven petty radicalism that really started -- Republicans, you guys can go right ahead and take that credit. Go right ahead. Credit where credit is due.
Republicans, this one's yours. It's got your name on it.

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