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?
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.
So, a couple of years back Oregon had money to provide Medicaid to 10,000 people but unfortunately there were many more who needed it. So they held a lottery and then had the idea of studying the random people who got picked for Medicaid coverage against a control group of people who didn’t get picked. Some preliminary results were published several months back and now they have the rest of the results. Led by the shrieking of the CATO Institute, righties are now declaring Obamacare to be a useless failure. Mostly because blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels were not measurably different between the two groups.
McArgleBlargle takes to her keyboard to proclaim that giving people government health insurance does not make them healthier and in fact maybe health insurance (for the poors) itself is a waste of money!
And it’s actually bigger, and more important than Obamacare. We should all be revising our priors about how much health insurance—or at least Medicaid—really promotes health. What this really tells us is how little we know about health care, and making people healthy—and how often data can confound even our most powerful intuitions.
“Or at least Medicaid” she says. Which is, you know, what poor people, many of them with brown skins, use.
So a couple of weeks ago Reince Priebus rolls out, in their words, “the most comprehensive post-election review” evah! of of a political loss, namely the thumping they got last November, and announces that a kinder, gentler Republican Party must emerge to win voters back.
Priebus noted that the party’s policies are fundamentally sound but require a softer tone and broader outreach, include a stronger push for African-American, Latino, Asian, women and gay voters.
“To be clear, our principles our (sic) sound, our principles are not old rusty thoughts in some book,” Priebus said, but the “report notes the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough.”
Unsurprisingly the toner was barely set on the report pages when the hard-line god-bothering contingent of the party made it clear that they thought the Rethuglicans were communicating a message of unbudging resistance to change on social issues just fine thankyew.
The last two Republican winners of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses say that the GOP will shoot itself in the foot if it softens its stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage — countering calls from others within the GOP ranks who say that is one way for the party to broaden its national appeal.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in the 2012 presidential race, told Politico that the Republican party will cease to exist if it softens its stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage.
“Look, the Republican Party isn’t going to change,” Mr. Santorum said. “If we do change, we’ll be the Whig Party.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, said that the GOP should learn a lesson from the 2008 and 2012 elections, where they lost after nominating Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The last two presidential elections, we had more moderate candidates, so if anything a lot of conservatives went to the polls reluctantly or just didn’t go at all,” Mr. Huckabeetold Politico. “If all of the Evangelicals had showed up, it may have made a difference.”
Ah yes. As we all know Conservatism cannot fail; it can only be failed.
Really this is one of those stories where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry ROTFLMAO.
According to Joshua Green at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, heading into the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who at that point still had some sort of chance in the race, hatched a plot to combine forces and run Romney off the road:
As Mitt Romney struggled in the weeks leading up to the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum nearly agreed to form a joint “Unity Ticket” to consolidate conservative support and topple Romney. “We were close,” former Representative Bob Walker, a Gingrich ally, says. “Everybody thought there was an opportunity.” “It would have sent shock waves through the establishment and the Romney campaign,” says John Brabender, Santorum’s chief strategist.
“Oh noes” we are supposed to say in retrospect! Such a stupendous charismatic pair as Serial Adulterer Newt and Colossal Dick* Santorum could totally have upset OBamz apple cart and WHERE WOULD WE ALL BE TODAY!!
Well, we know it didn’t happen and Romney pulled out a squeaker win in Michigan. The coalition collapsed and, as much as anything, from the stupendous weight of their own egos.
But the negotiations collapsed in acrimony because Gingrich and Santorum could not agree on who would get to be president. “In the end,” Gingrich says, “it was just too hard to negotiate.”
And the rest of us were denied the spectacle of a truly great clown show of a campaign, surpassing even that of Grandpa Grumps and Klondike Barbie. If only.
*Thanks to Charlie Pierce for the oh-so-apt moniker.
CPAC2013 reminded me of the story of the “dance band on the Titanic” who, knowing they were about to die, decided to continue to bravely play on in an attempt to buoy the spirits of the doomed souls on board. Harry Chapin memorialized the event with a song that contained the refrain:
Dance band on the Titanic
Sing “Nearer, my God, to thee”
The iceberg’s on the starboard bow
Won’t you dance with me?
And that particular mindset is about the only rational explanation for the behavior of establishment Republicans who have decided to continue to humor the directionless hurly-burly of movement conservatives.
These are obviously people who have assessed the costs and decided that they don’t give a rat’s whether they ever win another election. Indeed, losers from previous bouts were featured, like conquering heroes, throughout the CPAC agenda—people like Allen West, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John McCain—Sarah Palin! for the love of Mike. While conservatives who actually have a snowball’s chance, like Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, were deemed unfit.
Meet Kris Crawford, a Republican representative in the South Carolina State House, an emergency room doc, a convicted tax evader and political pragmatist of the confederate persuasion. That’s him in the mugshot which was taken at his graduation from the South Carolina School of Political Hard Knocks [more about that, later].
Rep Kris Crawford (R- Land o’ Cotton) recently covered himself with glory when it came time to consider South Carolina’s decision to expand their Medicaid program, under the Affordable Care Act. Now, Kris Crawford knew a little bit more about the subject than most of his colleagues because he is a practicing physician.
He knows, for example, that, in South Carolina, a child must be living below 200% of the poverty level [$24,650 for a family of three] to qualify for Medicaid coverage. A pregnant woman must be living at 185% below that level and the elderly, blind or disabled below 100% of the limit.
Conversely, under the ACA, states can expand coverage to anyone at or below 138% of the national poverty level. The cost to the state? $0, until 2020, when the states will have to pick up 10% of the program’s cost, while the federal government picks up the other 90%—forever.
Paul Ryan, the very, very serious thinker of the Republican Party, the numbers guy who puts together oh-so-serious budgets designed to throw the Olds and the Poors off their Medicare and Medicaids becauz that’s what serious people do, went on Fox News Sunday to discuss his newest veryserious budget which will be officially unveiled next Tuesday. Unfortunately he discussed it with Chris Wallace, one of the people at Fox who actually has thinkingskillz. Here is the exchange:
On Sunday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stopped by Fox News Sunday to preview his new budget, which will be released in full on Tuesday. As it had the past two years, this year’s version will call for massive cuts to social service programs, including food stamps, job training, Medicaid, and Medicare. Host Chris Wallace challenged Ryan on the viability of his plan, pointing out that he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, and, “that’s not going to happen.”
Still, Ryan insisted that he and then-running mate Mitt Romney won the election on this issue because they “won the senior vote”:
WALLACE: Are you saying that as part of your budget you would repeal — you assume the repeal of Obamacare?
WALLACE: Well that’s not going to happen.
RYAN: Well, we believe it should. [...]
Yes, and since we believe it should happen magical Repeal Fairies will make Obamacare go away between now and when this Budget *goes into effect*.
Hmmm. I’m just imagining this scenario in a corporate conference room with the controller presenting the budget to the CEO.
CEO: “Ryan, this budget assumes that revenues will triple when we introduce our new product line of flying pigs. Are you assuming we can create flying pigs?”
CEO: “Well that’s not going to happen!”
RYAN: “Well we believe it should happen.”
How long between the end of that conversation and the issuance of the pink slip to young Ryan?
Ryan also says, after reiterating that wishing Obamacare away can make it so, that the purpose of budgets is to make hard choices. Um, no Paul. Budgets sometimes require you to make hard choices but that is not their purpose. The purpose of a budget is to make the most realistic assessment possible, based on known facts, of what your revenues and expenses for the coming fiscal period will look like. Pretending that things will happen that are not going to happen and using the budget to further right wing ideology and destroy programs that you don’t support is *not* the purpose of a budget.
You can definitely see why this oh-so-serious thinker had to scramble his way into gummint welfare for a living - he wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the real world.
Rand Paul is a smarmy douchenozzle who doesn’t give a flying fuck about US drone policy except when it serves as a handy stick to beat the Obama administration and rile up the wingnut militia crowd. His remarks on the program of notable civil liberties guru Rush Limbaugh yesterday made this pretty clear.
But in as much as Baby Doc has inspired the Republican Party to start punching itself in the face, I applaud him [warning: PolitiHo link]:
As good a day as this was for Sen. Rand Paul on Twitter, it was at least that bad for Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Laced throughout the thousands of tweets cheering on the filbustering Kentucky Republican was a vicious, visceral anger aimed squarely at the South Carolinian up for reelection next year.
“This very well could be a defining moment in this particular campaign — the moment Lindsey Graham lost his grip on the boots on the ground in South Carolina,” Daniel Encarnacion [warning: YouTube link], state secretary for the Republican Liberty Caucus, said in an interview.
Alexander McQueen crocodile boots, one hopes. And now there’s this:
A pitched battle between the Beltway hosebags like McCain, Graham, etc. and the tea party loons is exactly what the party needs right now. The Democratic Party, I mean. Rock on, Paultroon.
In an opinion piece yesterday for, who else, the Washington Post, Bob Woodward managed to come off as manipulative, petty and totally off the mark.
Titled “Obama’s sequester deal-changer” he rambles on about just who was responsible for the sequester thingamajig anyway:
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.
What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?
And then goes on to pat himself on the back for his remarkable reporting that shows that Obama’s team originally proposed the idea. To which the only reasonable response is “who cares anyway?” Congress passed it. Everyone was responsible for it. What our intrepid analytic reporter completely glosses over is why the idea of a sequester was proposed in the first place. To hear Woodward tell it, it was just some mean trick that Obama wanted to play on an unwitting American public. Here is his sole reference to the situation in the second to the last paragraph of a piece taking up two pages:
In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.
I just am not up to putting together a critique of Obama’s pretty darn good SOTU speech, which addressed climate change, gun control, and raising the minimum wage—all things quite timely and appropriate; nor am I concerned with poor Senator Marco Rubio’s long day, which started with voting against VAWA and ended with a speech where he complained that the President (who mentioned lowering the deficit, like a million times) was trying to create bigger government and boo-hoo’d over the notion that any Democratic president might ascribe motives to the GOP based on the logical outcomes of their policies as opposed to assuming in good faith that they believed their talking points. I just want to focus on what everyone will focus on, and are already all about on the Twitter engines:the Big Sip.
It’s a thing of so much awkwardness, and the water bottle is so tiny. He moves in for it like maybe, if he moves fast enough, we won’t even notice he had a case of cottonmouth and naturally, took a drink during a speech (LIKE PEOPLE DO!). (JUST NOT SO AWKWARDLY!)
Anyone want to share their impressions? Open thread.
I think it’s a sad day in journamalism when the question of whether President Obama really, really, for really truly and honest-to-gosh “goes skeet-shooting all the time” at Camp David is seriously fact-checked. And yet I think it’s a hilarious day when Breitbart’s very own John Nolte questions why no one is questioning the fact checkers. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, dig? Woodward and Bernstein once brought down a president with Watergate—but today’s lapdog press is blindly accepting photographic evidence debunking Skeetgate that was made in the very same seat of the powerful that brought us such sheer propaganda as….
Today, however, the White House released a photo that purports to show Obama (love that tucked-in shirt) shooting skeet last August. Except… he’s shooting straight ahead, which means that there’s either a barn door somewhere in need of some patching, or Obama is such an awesome skeet shooter, he hits them as they come out of the firing device.
I keed, I keed. There are legitimate reasons that would explain the angle of his gun, but….
(I humbly submit that since there is smoke coming out the barrel, he has already shot and lowered the rifle, probably because it makes sense in the linear stream of things. And I’ve watched many episodes of CSI. CSI: New York and Miami, too!) And of course, the press is only doing it to make the skeet-truthers look stupid! Because…um. Right.
Can anyone remind me again why this is supposed to matter?
So, yes, some kook in Idaho has actually compared insurance companies to victims of the holocaust because Nobama is going to load them all on that train, send them to the concentration camps and “establish a socialistic health care system”. And something, something about how the companies are being forced to dig their own graves because the “private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange”.
Beyond the fact that I have a hard time actually boo-hooing about health insurance companies who are madly gouging their customers to boost their bottom lines higher every year, the fedz do have a way to establish that sochulistic health care system. It’s called Medicare. If Congress had actually wanted Obamacare to become the “Crown Jewel of Socialism”, in the words of the Girl with the Faraway Eyes (h/t Charlie Pierce), they could have expanded Medicare. It was even in one of the original proposals to allow the 55 to 64 year old crowd to buy into Medicare but even that was too much socialamism for a Congress that was, at the time, controlled in both houses by Dems.
So I’m guessing the insurance companies will not be loaded wholesale onto those trains after all. More’s the pity.
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
I know, I know that’s turtledove . . . but this works for me. Because the Turtle bellowing almost non-stop, these days, is the gentleman from Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Never, Never Land). And, frankly, his bellowing is music to my ears because it signifies that something wonderful this way comes . . .
I’m willing to tolerate McConnell’s recent tantrums because . . . schadenfreude! Mitch has had a remarkably awful time of it for the last four or five years—watching the first black man preside in the Oval Office and proceeding to Mitch’s Personal Worst—failing to render Obama a one-term president as he had vowed. Because Mitch actually has an awful lot less clout than he thinks he does . . .
“Every four years on Inauguration Day, America shows the world that our major political parties can disagree with civility and mutual respect. It is in this spirit that I congratulate President Obama on his inauguration to a second term and wish him well in the fulfillment of his duty to lead the U.S. at home and abroad over the next four years. The President’s second term represents a fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day; particularly, the transcendent challenge of unsustainable federal spending and debt. Republicans are eager to work with the President on achieving this common goal, and we firmly believe that divided government provides the perfect opportunity to do so. Together, there is much we can achieve.”
Christ, what an asshole... it wasn’t too long ago that McConnell admitted that his number one priority was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Having failed in that, he now wants to call a mulligan and have President Obama pretend that the shabby treatment he received from the Republican congresscreeps for the past four years never happened. For a party that seems to idolize the past, the GOP sure loves to shove things down the memory hole. Forget the elephant logo, the Republican emblem should be a goldfish.*
*The pedant in me has to note that the whole three-second memory stereotype is untrue, but I figured the joke is in keeping with popular perception so I ran with it… and promptly ran over it with my “explaining voice”.
The biggest takeaways that I got were a, frankly, thrilling endorsement of a progressive agenda including embracing of entitlements that we have all paid for (we are NOT a nation of takers - FU Granny Starver Ryan), action on climate change, gun control/safety (whatever you want to call it), rebuilding of our infrastructure, smackdown on the Rethugs attempts at voter suppression, embracing of immigrants, civil rights for teh gays and much, much more.
What did you guys think? Am I naive, optimistic or is B. Hussein Obamz finally going to kick some ass for progressive causes? After all, he has nothing to lose now - why not go for it?!
And it’s just a little amuse-bouche that RMoney was so butthurt over losing that he did a big no-show.