Saturday, August 24, 2013
Widespread Outbreak of Impeachment Fever Plagues Red States
Well. It’s now almost a year since the GOP continued its losing streak of four out of the last six presidential elections, not including the Supreme Court intervention in 2000 that accounted for one of the two wins.
Despite the brief euphoria of the 2010 House invasion, the Republican party is bitterly staggering its way through the Five Stages of Grief only to arrive at the looming death star called Hillary. Having spent quite a lot of time in the Denial Stage and then basking in the energizing glow of the Anger Stage, punch-drunk Republicans arrived at the Bargaining Stage just in time for the long Dog Days Recess.
Unfortunately, this “stage” is not following the script, and feckless legislators are not even safe in their own Town Hall meetings which are being disrupted by hecklers from the Left and the Right. Several Republicans have been caught flat-footed by constituents who want to know “what’s so bad about Obamacare?” on one side alongside rabble-rousers who want their representatives to “shut down the government like a man!”
It’s a minefield out there . . . of their own making.
So it is that recently some creative party geniuses have revived that old crowd-pleasing favorite “Impeachment” from the GOP playbook. I guess because it’s always worked so well for them . . . ?
Since Obamacare has gotten to be pretty moldy “red meat,” impeachment serves as a tasty, home-cooked comfort food for the disgruntled base. Plus, it covers a multitude of grievances: hate Obama’s policies—foreign and domestic—impeach him! hate that Obama is an uppity foreign, socialist, gay-loving, culture war-instigating oligarch? impeach him! hate Obama for having the temerity to be a black man in the White House? impeach him! hate Obama’s wife, his kids, his vacation plans? impeach his ass!!1!!
See how that works? Don’t tamp down the anger and hate—redirect it.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/24/13 at 08:10 AM
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Hope and Change: 2014 Edition
Alex Isenstadt offered up his opinion, on Politico, this morning, that the best thing that could happen to Democrats this fall would be a GOP-led government shutdown which “could revive their [Democrats] fading hopes of capturing the House next year.”
This is not a novel thought. Politicians and pundits have been theorizing, since last November, about what kinds of leverage are still available to congressional Republicans and how they might use them to best advantage. The schizoid Republican internal debate has raged, quite publicly and most of the tactics that have emerged tend toward quixotic, but ideologically pure, symbolic gestures that would, for the most part, make them look worse than they already do.
Here’s how Isenstadt sees things shaping up:
As it stands now, the midterm is shaping up as a stale, status-quo election — with Democrats calling their counterparts right-wing extremists, Republicans attacking their rivals over Obamacare and neither side making much headway. That’s good for Republicans, since the party out of power in the White House almost inevitably picks up House seats in the sixth year of the presidency. Heavily-gerrymandered districts provide the GOP an extra layer of protection.
Nothing short of a powerful jolt — a moment that grabs casual voters by the lapels and makes them take notice — is likely to alter the landscape in a dramatic way.
From a purely historical perspective it’s hard to argue with Isenstadt’s premise. Nevertheless, the paralyzed government that we are all experiencing today is ahistorical and I believe that it’s very possible that it won’t take a government shutdown or debt default to motivate Democratic voters to put Republicans out of their misery. The numbers are there to do it [just] and I believe the will is there as well. Nevertheless, it’s an all uphill battle all the way . . . but wasn’t that what they were all saying about Obama being re-elected not so long ago?
Ed Kilgore of The Democratic Strategist puts it this way:
While historical precedent has been a dependable factor to consider in predicting House election outcomes, there are exceptional elections that bust precedents. Also, the Republican party is more divided than it has been in many decades, and it could get a lot worse. Dems are more united than in a long time, and we can build our edge while Republicans work through their internecine squabbles.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/22/13 at 10:46 AM
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Senator Lee Threatens to Huff and Puff, etc etc
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Planet Xanax), consummate Washington insider playing the role of Grassroots Greg has just come up with his most delusional idea, yet, for getting attention: close down the government if President Obama refuses to defund his own signature health reform law. Snap!
This is like a kid who gets sent to timeout for throwing a tantrum and decides to throw a bigger tantrum to protest. Smart kids don’t do it . . .
And although Sen. Lee is, by all accounts, a pretty smart kid, his base? not so much. A vast majority of them will be quite gratified to watch their TEA Party senator make trouble for Obama any way he can—the more theatrical, the better.
Politicians, unlike most of the rest of the species, don’t mind making total asses of themselves if they believe that’ll get them re-elected but I think Sen. Lee, and his party may be overestimating their banged up party’s ability to keep bouncing back from self-inflicted injuries.
Think about it . . . Lee and others in the GOP know that every minute that ticks by brings us closer to full implementation of Obamacare. And, every day that goes by brings more good news about ACA’s benefits to the economy, consumers and health care providers. If something doesn’t happen quick to derail Obamacare, well, that train is bound for glory. Leaving conservatives with a lot of #GOPFAIL on their faces.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/24/13 at 09:30 AM
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Farewell, Big Sis, Plus Open Thread
Wingnuts will soon have to find another target for their misogyny, paranoia and homophobia:
Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, announced Friday that she was stepping down, setting off a search to fill one of the most challenging positions in government at a time when the Obama administration is struggling to get a team in place for the president’s second term.
The vacancy sets the stage for another confirmation fight as Republicans continue their efforts to nullify the last two presidential elections. There’s no word yet on whom the president will nominate, but WaPo put together a speculative list, including:
[Joe] Lieberman makes sense as DHS secretary for one pretty obvious reason: He created the department. Lieberman, as chair of the committee that is now referred to as the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, drafted the bill that created DHS shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. He also recently retired from the Senate, meaning he’s a free agent. But his tendency to
give his Democratic colleagues heartburn be a spiteful, war-mongering Republican dick may not make him an ideal fit. [Edited for accuracy]
No, no, a thousand, million, kajillion, ding-dong-dillion times, no. Jenny Durkan (profiled in that same WaPo article) sounds qualified, and since she’s an out lesbian, her candidacy would have the added benefit of triggering even more Lesbocalypse fears among the right-wing assholes who have spent the last five years absurdly imagining that the innocuous Ms. Napolitano was rifling through their underwear drawer and monitoring activities at the Moose lodge.
But perhaps the best outcome—and most fitting monument to Lieberman’s work in the Senate—would be to abolish the Department of Homeland Security altogether, break it up into its component parts. Like so much that is wrong with this country, it’s a remnant of post-9/11 hysteria.
Or we could at least change the name, which, as Peggy Noonan pointed out in a rare moment of clarity, is “vaguely Teutonic.” What shall we call it? Please feel free to discuss other topics too—open threadage.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 07/13/13 at 08:50 AM
Thursday, June 27, 2013
I finally got around to listening to President Obama’s speech on climate change, a most appropriate activity when there’s a tornado watch in one’s neighboring state. All-in-all, it was an okay speech, but, like a lot of Obama’s proposals, my reaction to it is one big “MEH”. There is some evidence that the president’s position, like his position on same-sex marriage, has evolved- he’s no longer talking about clean coal, except in rare cases:
Today, I’m calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas—unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there’s no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort.
read the whole post »
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 06/27/13 at 07:10 PM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Something Special Happened in Austin Last Night
Every once in a while, in the course of human events, a hero comes along, shrugs off insurmountable odds, speaks truth to power and prevails. Such events renew our faith in principles, truth and justice and allow our better angels to fly in the face of hypocrisy and corruption. Such an event occurred last night in Austin, Texas and the eyes of the nation were upon it.
Yesterday I wrote about Sen. Wendy Davis who planned to mount a filibuster in the Texas Senate in an effort to derail SB5, Texas Republicans’ most recent campaign in the War on Women. Sen Davis needed to speak on the senate floor for 13 hours to prevent a floor vote on the bill before the special session, called by Gov. Rick Perry to ram it through, timed out. Republicans control the Texas senate 2-to-1, so if the bill came to a vote, it would inevitably pass.
It’s not easy to mount a filibuster in the Texas senate. Senate rules require that the senator must stand by her/his seat and speak to the issue in hand only, without a break for bathroom, food, water. A strong majority can easily put an end to a filibuster by raising points of order and voting to sustain them—and it’s three strikes and you’re out. A devious majority can even put up two successful points of order and then allow the filibustering senator to struggle along, nearly to the end and then pounce.
That’s what happened last night. And with 15 minutes left for a roll call it looked like SB5 would pass but what Republicans weren’t counting on were the hundreds of Texans who packed the State House and gallery to #standwithwendy. And stand they did. Loudly.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/26/13 at 05:21 AM
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Postcard from Dystopia
A few days ago, in Anne Laurie’s thread about Rand Paul’s tenuous belief in democracy, the topic turned to speculation about Baby Doc’s presidential aspirations. I said:
I have a hard time believing Baby Doc could get elected to any office that required appealing to voters who are not hardcore wingnuts and Papa Doc fans. It’s not that the electorate is particularly discerning. It’s just that Baby Doc comes across as such an arrogant, smarmy prick.
I was right about Paul being an arrogant, smarmy prick, but upon further reflection, I should have known better than to think that’s a disqualifying factor in a general election. An example is right under my nose here in Florida, where Rick Scott—a Voldemort lookalike and known crook who displays all the personal warmth and charm of an anaconda—was elected governor in 2010.
True, Scott won with less than 50% of the vote, and he needed $77 million of his personal fortune, a wind at his back gusted up by the rebranded Bush dead-ender “Tea Party” plus the apathy of Democrats dispirited by a real and perceived lack of pony production on the part of President Obama and the Democratic Congress. All of this broke Scott’s way.
Some might dismiss Scott’s election as just another example of Florida insanity, like face-eating zombies, airborne fish attacks and fatal roach-eating contests. Maybe, but I think Florida is a better microcosm for America than is generally acknowledged.
Florida has left-of-center coastal enclaves, heavily armed yahoos and religious fanatics in the interior, a growing immigrant population, simmering racial tensions, a politically powerful “Screw you, Jack, I’ve got mine!” elderly population and disaffected, jobless young folks who have been robbed of their future and birthright by nature-despoiling greed-heads.
Is this not America?
As for the future, Scott’s approval ratings have consistently been among the lowest of any governor in the US, and I used to believe that all the Democrats had to do to beat him handily next year was nominate someone capable of fogging a mirror. But the Florida Democratic Party (of which I am a proud member) is a hot mess, and fault lines are emerging that could result in yet another epic fail.
Those fault lines are reflected on this blog (stupid fucking firebagger! drone-loving obot!), and you’ll see them deepen nationally as 2016 approaches. Love him or not, President Obama is a gifted politician, but he’s won his last election.
Can anyone else bring our fractured coalition together—if only for one fucking day? We better hope so. Unless the rest of you want to live in a Hiaasen novel too.
[Image credit: Buzzfeed; x-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 06/20/13 at 11:06 AM
Thursday, June 06, 2013
It Takes 7 Years For Glenn To Get His USA Today?
So you may have heard that the politisphere is a little angsty today. My television isn’t even on and I can hear Chris Matthews yelling, all because of GIUARDIAN GLENN GREENWALD’S BIG GIANT SCOOP, which is is not materially different from LESLIE CAULEY’S BIG GIANT SCOOP OF AUGHT SIX, except that now it’s Obama doing it! With secret FISA courts, which I have a vague memory of Obama voting for way back when, which is why I have GIANT SCOOP letdown right now. It wasn’t my favorite of Obama’s moves then, but I decided I’d take the good with the iffy and move on. And then the blogoverse trumpets GLENZILLA’S VERY HUGE NEWS and it turns out to be sort-of-not-warrantless-not-wiretapping. You know how you may have always intended to catch a hot show after catching one good episode, and when you finally tune in, it’s a rerun of that same damn episode?
I’m curious: am I the only person who assumed the Bush-era program never stopped? Since the snooping doesn’t involve identity or conversations, but exclusively “Meta-data” of my “telephony” being stored by the NSA— but not accessed without a FISA warrant— I really am having a problem getting my outrage on. If only I could pretend to be outraged, the way the Republicans do!
(Big ole hat tip to TPM commenter Doremus Jessup20 ; perhaps GG should think about tipping his lid—currently up on the Guardian page, collecting coins, to help keep Glenn HONEST—to Ms. Cauley.)
**Update** Well! isn’t it nice to know we’re never alone? Oh Hell’s Bells. The discouraging thing is that I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised that the NSA didn’t buy my behavior from Google the way Hungry Girl did. Nothing I do is a secret to her!
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/06/13 at 06:37 PM
What’s a Congress To Do?
Well, as we say here in Pennsylvania “there’s no hot mess like a politically motivated, conspiracy-tinged, witch-hunt-y hot mess.” And since Congress has nothing but time on their hands these days, the majority members have decided that House investigations and hearings are as good a time-killer as any, whilst they quest on after the holy grail of Obama impeachment and Rapture2014.
Today’s Republicans are already pretty entertaining, on a normal day, but when they get their dander up they’re downright hilarious. One of the things that has their dander up, recently, is the IRS’s systematic persecution of teabaggers. The reason that the IRS landed this opportunity to torture the grassroots is because the TEA Party is all about liberty and constitutional rights, especially the sacred right of every American altruist to a tax exempt status.
[It’s sort of an American Mystery to me that, with all of the thousands of outfits claiming tax exempt status for the noble work that they do to advance our social welfare, our society is still such a mess. But that’s a topic for another day . . . ]
Actually, of all the scandals they had to choose from, this one was probably the best choice for a number of reasons: a) when your approval rating hits a new low of 6%, it’s probably not a great time to be total a—holes b) everyone already hates the IRS, on principle, and anyone who goes after them looks heroic, even if no-one can prove that the WH directs their every move and c) everyone knows that the IRS is a hotbed of Democrat partisanship BECAUSE . . . federal workers union.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/06/13 at 09:58 AM
Friday, May 24, 2013
Just Punch Me In The Face Now, PLEASE!
Until yesterday, I have to admit, I was blissfully unaware that Andrea Tantaros lived and breathed. Nor did I know that she was part of a FoxNews gang that call themselves “The Five” - dundundun. Whatever.
This morning, however, I woke to the news that this same Andrea Tantaros was calling on my community to search me out and punch me in the face for voting for Barack Obama. Now I’ve been voting for longer than Ms. Smarty Pants has been alive so I didn’t take it all that well. Turns out that, despite her sophomoric mentality and social skills, this chick has her own talk radio show and on Thursday night she was busy holding forth on the James Rosen Affair. Shheeeeesh.
Here’s the transcript:
Fox said, we’re targets, clearly Media Matters and others have put us on a target list. And they said, ‘Oh, Fox is just crazy! They’re just paranoid!’ Really? Are we?’
This is what is happening to our press! This is Obama’s America! It’s like the Soviet Union. He said he would change the country. He said it. And a lot of people voted for him.
And if you see any of those people today, do me a favor, punch them in the face.
After a commercial break, a caller from South Carolina told Tantaros that he hated Obama, but worried that telling people to punch Obama voters in the face was sending the wrong message.
To be clear, I didn’t say punch Obama in the face. You’re going to get me arrested with this type of government.
If someone voted for him!” she insisted to the caller. “If anyone that you know who voted for President Obama, smack ‘em down.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/24/13 at 02:43 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Just LIke Bush Except For The Closing Gitmo Thing And The Listening Thing And That Other Thing
MEDEAMEDEAMEDEA! You are so vocal and full-throated, that even the guy at the podium has to admire you, even though you want him to close Gitmo and he—uh, wants to close Gitmo. And now he says it’s important to pay attention to you, so congratulations, conveniently formerly Susan B, inconveniently non-all-powerful Barry O has just endorsed you! You are now tainted, co-opted meat. I’m sure it was his diabolical plan all along.
In other news besides Medea Benjamin, the Guardian live blog, as usual, has a wonderfully succinct rundown of the President’s speech today. Perfect for Dana Perino-length attention spans!
Oh yes, nearly forgot: the President announced that he’d work with Congress to repeal the AUMF and end the perpetual War On Terror. Whew! Almost missed it!
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 05/23/13 at 08:32 PM
Here’s Mr. Obama on his way to the senior prom (Time, via Gawker). Considering that he graduated in the late 70s, the outfits are far less embarrassing than one could have hoped. My husband is only a bit younger than the president, and the suit he wore to the prom once prompted someone who saw his prom photo to laugh and ask if it was a Halloween costume.
On a more serious note, Obama is scheduled to give an address on counterterrorism today:
In his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term, Mr. Obama hopes to refocus the epic conflict that has defined American priorities since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and even foresees an unspecified day when the so-called war on terror might all but end, according to people briefed on White House plans.
Could the war on a noun really end? The report says Obama will announce new limits on the use of drone strikes and launch a new effort to close Gitmo. I expect the reaction will range from “worse than Bush” to “worse than Neville Chamberlain.”
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/23/13 at 09:57 AM
Sunday, May 19, 2013
SHOCKED! Shocked, I Tell You!
[Updated below the fold]
What a week! And, I have to agree with Jay Carney, it’s actually been a good week, if for no other reason than its entertainment value. Scandalpalooza has downtrodden Republicans floating in a purple haze of political fairy dust and, history teaches us that when the GOP has magic on its mind it becomes rather spectacularly self-destructive.
By the end of a week of Republican non-stop merrymaking, Prince Rebus and “You’re a Mean One, Mr Gingrich” are the sole, sober voices of reason. Say what you will about Newt, but he does have decades worth of first-hand knowledge of the inner workings, serial miscalculations, over-reach and bumbling blunders that have carried the GOP to its present-day level of uselessness.
So it is that Prince and Newt are the grownups desperately calling cabs for the less inhibited partygoers before they start spewing a skinful of Impeachment Punch all over the rotunda.
In one of those cabs, we find Peggy Noonan belting out “those were the days, my friend” spliced with “we are in the middle of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate” and “the South shall rise again.” [I added that last part; it seemed to fit]
Admittedly, it’s been a while since Peggy Noonan made any sense to me. At first, I thought she was cleverly speaking in tongues. But Peggy’s Catholic and they generally frown on that kind of melodrama.
Nowadays, I tend to agree with Charlie Pierce:
God put her [Noonan] on this earth to make Maureen Dowd look sane.
That makes more sense to me.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/19/13 at 06:09 AM
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Sometimes an Umbrella Is Just an Umbrella
Most wingnuts go straight for the “uppity” angle when criticizing President Obama for asking two Marines to hold umbrellas over himself and the Turkish Prime Minister at an outdoor press conference during a downpour.
Noted boxed wine enthusiast Ann Althouse digs a bit deeper in a post entitled, “The word ‘umbrella’ appears exactly once in Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father.’” Do think I’m kidding? No, I am not.
I’m astounded to see that the umbrella figures importantly in the book — and it is even an umbrella held over him by another man (his younger brother Bernard). This happens at the end of what is the most dramatic scene in the book, on the last page of the final chapter.
So — as he dramatizes it —it is at the moment when he finds out who he really is that another man suddenly appears and is sheltering him with an umbrella. He’s been crying, but now it all makes sense, and — with the prompting of the younger man — he sees that he is okay.
Flash forward, and he’s President. He is in the Rose Garden. It starts to rain. No man suddenly appears with an umbrella. He is getting wet and he is President — with plenty of airplanes and rifles and all of the world’s greatest military at hand — but he is still getting wet. He has to order the Marine to shelter him. It isn’t Bernard squatting with a bent-up old umbrella. It’s a Marine in full-dress uniform, with a fine unbent umbrella, which is nevertheless not correct under the official — male, rigid — Marine Corps regulations… And here he is, the center of the whole world’s attention, and he had to call for the umbrella. He is not okay.
Wingnuts have demonstrated amazing super powers in the past, including the ability to conduct a comprehensive neurological assessment via a snippet of grainy videotape and audit a family’s finances by peering through the kitchen window at their countertops.
In her analysis of the meaning of UmbrellaGate, Althouse has taken it a step further, investing that “famously Freudian symbol” with powers that far surpass Mary Poppins’ foul weather gear, including the ability to emasculate US Marines and transform the POTUS into an insecure child. It’s both insane and fascinating.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/18/13 at 02:08 PM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
So Many Scandals, So Little Time
Has anyone noticed that the GOP Faux Outrage Machine has been somewhat subdued on the recent revelations that the Department of Justice has been secretly poring over news reporters’ phone logs? Odd, isn’t it? Sure, we all know how Republicans feel about the LAMESTREAM MEDIA!!!1! and it’s insufferable Librul Bias. But, FIRST AMENDMENT! FOUNDING FATHERS! etc., plus, really, Flip-Flops R Us. So why aren’t Republicans getting all apoplectic over this now that they have their big chance to expose Big Brother-ish, Fascist tactics?
Maybe it’s because you’d have to really beat the bushes to find a Republican who isn’t a huge fan of spy vs. spy stuff or who doesn’t believe that anything—anything—that the intelligence community, the military or federal law enforcement does in the name of National Security is out of bounds. And what a slippery slope political talk about limitations could land us on if we’re not careful, eh?
Besides, remember all the way back to the 2012 campaign when Republicans were screaming foul about deliberate White House leaks on national security coups strategically designed to make President Obama look good in an election year? Stories like how the CIA had foiled an Underwear Bomber 2.0 plot that could have taken down a passenger-laden jetliner? Or the sexy one about cyber-spying on Iran’s nuclear program?
I’m sure these Republicans haven’t forgotten:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) circulated the letter . . . signed by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelley Ayotte (R-NH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Thune (R-SD), among other Republican senators.
It was 31 in all who signed the letter demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder immediately appoint a special counsel to investigate national-security leaks from the executive branch:
The numerous national-security leaks reportedly originating out of the executive branch in recent months have been stunning.
If true, they reveal details of some of our nation’s most highly classified and sensitive military and intelligence matters, thereby risking our national security, as well as the lives of American citizens and our allies. If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it.
So. Months later we find ourselves “uncovering” that very investigation.
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/15/13 at 08:34 AM