Saturday, December 07, 2013
Dreadful Policy, By Any Other Name . . .
Well, it has been an eventful week and suddenly—here we are—less than a year from the 2014 mid-term elections. How time flies . . . and suddenly Republicans appear to be getting all serious about their public image.
On that subject, I tend to agree with Charlie Pierce who says:
This party doesn’t need rebranding. It needs deprogramming.
Whatever. But it’s fun to pull back the curtain and take a peek at how the transformation is going . . .
The most timely and topical event, of course, is the conservative reaction to the news of Nelson Mandela’s death.
Republicans are politicians so their first impulse was to offer up respectful homage to a world leader and, hopefully, do it before and/or better than President Obama. Whereupon they were blinsided by their vituperative post-racism base who were eager to dance on Mandela’s grave and label their pols RINO’s for not joining in the dance.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 12/07/13 at 01:23 PM
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Friday, December 06, 2013
GOP’s War On Children
Well, the timing couldn’t have been worse what with the holidays errr . . . Christmas coming, but Eric Cantor, @GOPLeader, as he styles himself on Twitter, was forced to go all full-metal fascist on some schoolchildren who were singing about immigration reform outside his office yesterday. When the kids wouldn’t shut up, Cantor’s office called the Capitol Police to bully them away.
As you can see, some of the kids were pretty scared and had to be comforted by the adults in their group. It’s kind of a shame, too, because the House is in session so seldom that it’s sort of amazing that The Great Oz was actually in. What the kids couldn’t have known was that Cantor was trying to read a very important white paper on How to Talk to Women without Being a Total Dick.
Maybe the group was fooled into thinking that Cantor was “down with kids” because photos, like the one above that heads up his Twitter feed sure looks that way. That’s what political PR folks call a 3-bagger—you’ve got the candidate having a swell time with 1) African-American 2) female 3) kids who are our future. Not bad but he’s not #GOPLeader fer nuthin.
Now others might have handled the situation a little differently. Some might have even poked their heads out the door to talk to the kids and see what was up with them. Still others might have given them a little reassuring fairy tale about doing everything humanly possible to do the right thing around their issue. Not Cantor, though. He’s learned how to expedite matters with a little muscle while he hides behind his richly appointed door.
Someone needs to remind this self-important martinet that he serves in the People’s House, at the People’s Pleasure and a wise politician doesn’t turn the People away or the People are liable to turn him out of office.
Please feel free to share your reactions with @GOPLeader on Facebook, Twitter, or, better yet on his office phone [which probably goes directly to voice mail] because @GOPLeader is a very important, very busy man, little ones.
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/06/13 at 09:30 AM
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Thursday, December 05, 2013
When In Doubt, Blow It Up
Duncan Hunter (R-CA) comes from a military/political background.
His father, Duncan Hunter, Sr., was an Army Ranger who served in Vietnam (1970-1971) for which he was awarded a Bronze Star, then went on to serve in the US House of Representatives from 1981-2009 where he chaired the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.
In 2008, Hunter, Sr decided to run for President on the Republican ticket but his campaign fizzled out after the Nevada Republican Caucuses.
Hunter the Younger served in the Marine Corps for 2 tours in Iraq, and continues to serve in the Marine Reserves. In 2009 Hunter took over his father’s seat, in the US House of Representatives, where he . . . you guessed it! serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
With that kind of pedigree, it’s reasonable to expect that Young Duncan might avoid some of the sillier pratfalls that befall less well-groomed political rookies. But . . . sadly, no.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 12/05/13 at 01:34 PM
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Snowbound in DC
Well, the TEA Party sure has given America a boatload of dumb shit over a relatively brief period of time but Henry J. Radel (R-FL), America’s first Hip-Hop Conservative, has to be way, way at the top of the list and a sure contender for inclusion in this year’s five-volume edition of #GOPFails To Remember.
Trey Radel started out as one of those Rad Young Cons to Watch, a sure-fire change agent who would have undecided millenials flocking to the GOP’s Big Top. And—BONUS ALERT - Él habla español. Definitely New Age GOP.
What political donors and supporters couldn’t have known, at the time, was that speaking Spanish was key to Radel’s Colombian back-packing quests for the world’s best blow - a mission that pre-dated Radel’s recent enthusiasm for representing the good people of his home district in the US Congress.
So, when Radel arrived at the Capitol, earlier this year, one of his priorities was to hook up with a Capitol Hill coke dealer. And that’s when Trey Radel’s terminal stupidity and narcissism ruined the whole game . . . thank God.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/26/13 at 12:41 PM
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Sunday, November 24, 2013
And Then A Hero Comes Along . . .
Senior Statesman and the
Keystone Kops Republican Party’s No. 2 man in Congress, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Loon Stare State), distinguished himself last night by being up late and one of the first US legislators to publicly react to the news that a breakthrough agreement with Iran had been reached over its nuclear enrichment program.
Upon learning that the US and other world leaders had successfully taken a first step in preventing Iran from building its own nuclear weapons, Cornyn took to the Twitter with this provocative assessment:
And, in one masterful move, Cornyn managed to diss Obama, make clear what his own priorities are and become an overnight favorite contender for Stupidest Tweet of the 21st Century.
And, apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so . . .
And that’s only the tippy-tippy-top of the troll scroll. Well played Sen. Cornyn, sir. Well played.
Posted by Bette Noir on 11/24/13 at 08:00 AM
Friday, November 22, 2013
Fire In The Hole!
Well, it appears that the Hatfields are utterly gobsmacked that the McCoys have fired back at them.
In my opinion, the worst thing about all of this “nuclear” showdown is how widely and thoroughly misunderstood the whole business is, which might be due in some small part to the misnomer “nuclear option,” the coinage of which is usually attributed to the ever flamboyant Sen. Trent Lott (R-MISS) and implies something of epic proportion.
The Right Wingosphere is quivering with rage and awash in the tears of despondent patriots decrying “225 years of tradition blown away” and, I suspect, before too long, some ill-regulated militia will be suiting up to defend the Republic from Harry Reid.
Well, take a breath, folks. Rumors that the filibuster is dead have been greatly exaggerated—legislation, Supreme Court appointments can still be filibustered til the cows come home or until the Library of Congress runs out of Dr Seuss.
Reid’s Rule, as it has been dubbed, is a narrow rule change that addresses only judicial nominees and cabinet and administration positions. In other words, appointments that have rarely been challenged in the past. Appointments, in fact, that Republicans like Mitch McConnell have constantly reminded us should, for the most part, go unchallenged.
Is it possible that even the lowest-info Americans believe that the Senate has been operating flawlessly in some Utopian legislative realm, that has now, suddenly, been sacked by vandals and will never be the same? Bullpucky. If you believe that one, I have a compassionate conservative candidate you might be interested in voting for. It wasn’t so very long ago that the very same Senate hosted a night of performance art, unforgettably rendered by Mr Cruz, Jr., to advance him in his effort to shut down the US government.
This Senate is not your granddaddy’s Senate and hasn’t been for quite some time . . .
As John Dickerson, channeling Sen. Robert Byrd, put it:
. . . today’s change made what was de facto now de jure.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/22/13 at 11:56 AM
Friday, November 15, 2013
Blame It On Texas
It’s become close to a truism that if political events conspire to give Republicans any kind of unanticipated boon, they will immediately find a way to fk it up, usually to disastrously hilarious effect.
And, so it is that Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), who assures us he does not take his new project lightly, has rounded up eight other steely-eyed Texan reps, plus a handful of House conspiracy experts, to draw up Articles of Impeachment charging Attorney General Eric Holder with high crimes and other stuff that really ticks Republicans off.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/15/13 at 10:57 AM
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar . . .
Well, it’s almost a year now since Willard Romney limped offstage and exactly nine months, almost to the day, that the Republican National Committee floated its 100-page manifesto for The Great Rebranding of 2013: The Growth and Opportunity Project (GOP—get it? how clever is that?).
The GOP was chock full of searing insights and smart advice for a titanic course adjustment and anyone unfamiliar with the actual Republican Party might have thought “by Jingo, I think they’ve got it!”
The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.
Instead of driving around in circles on an ideological cul-de-sac, we need . . . a route into our Party that a non-traditional Republican will want to travel. Our standard should not be universal purity; it should be a more welcoming conservatism.
The Republican Party must focus its efforts to earn new supporters and voters in the following demographic communities: Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth. This priority needs to be a continual effort that affects every facet of our Party’s activities, including our messaging, strategy, outreach, and budget.
AMEN! Y’all . . . a regular Rainbow Coalition, feel me?
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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/13/13 at 10:08 AM
Sunday, November 10, 2013
So Let Me Get This Straight, 60 Minutes…
The respected tv news show runs a story about Benghazi, which Lara Logan says she worked on for a year, which basically melted like a snowball in a saucepan in something like 48 hours, and the correction and apology takes up just a couple minutes at the end of the show, and that is that?
Okay. We have a story that seems to have consisted of one flawed source with no corroborating eyewitness, whose book has been recalled and will be pulped, I guess. And there must be some indignity, no doubt, in 60 Minutes now being fact-checked by WND. They point out that Dylan Davies, who went by a pseudonym “for his protection” in the piece and as a nom de plume, was mentioned as having left town in a Telegraph story a year ago. This is really rather embarrassing for them, you’d think?
Or maybe they’d simply prefer not to dwell on how they got this one wrong. I do not know that it’s true, as fired former 60 Minutes exec Mary Mapes speculates, that they did this story specifically to appeal to a right wing audience, but I agree with the lesson that this is “instructive”, in the sense that just because there are people pointing to something, doesn’t mean that something is really there. I also don’t know whether a former Fox News honcho now with CBS had much to do with green-lighting the piece, except to agree that it is fascinating how stories can seem to serve certain biases, hm?
The mea culpa here seems a bit insufficient in this case particularly, though, in that the ongoing appearance of a bigger story has been the basis for a certain senator holding up Obama administration nominees--not that the spoiling of this particular line of inquiry has any effect. But all the same—if the organization is interested in getting it right, and fails, maybe they should try caring about making it right?
(And as an aside, regarding Sen. Graham’s continued quest to appear relevant in the face of his primary challenges, would it be entirely possible for him to appear actively obstructive if not foolhardy if his stand continued to turn up nothing of note? After all, if the Administration’s position as of 9/12/12 was no different than what anyone else knew at the time, you’ve not really got evidence of a cover-up at all, so much as the Administration’s failure to be omniscient—a standard that most people would agree is mighty high to expect of mere humans. I dunno. Maybe Graham is a romantic at heart and has always been prone to the menacing of aerial turbines. But this is shall we say, a Quixotic act—not realpolitik.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/10/13 at 11:24 PM
Monday, October 28, 2013
Revenge of the Kludgeocrats
So. It’s been awhile, about 3 years now, so it’s understandable that some of us may have already forgotten our bitter disappointment when the Affordable Care Act morphed, before our eyes, from a brave new universal healthcare plan, that would finally bring the US in line with the rest of the industrialized world, to a neoliberal Frankenstein’s monster designed to lead New Deal liberals and Reagan conservatives to a great post-partisan Kumbaya moment.
As we know, ACA barely made it, thanks only to a Democratic super-majority, without a single Republican vote. And the result is a healthcare law that left liberals and conservatives both holding their noses over a law that hardly anyone approves of in its current form.
By the time, conservative-bait and liberal dreams were all present and accounted for, ACA had turned into a Rube Goldberg model of healthcare policy.
One of the interesting bits of ACA history is that it is based, in large part, on a 1989 Heritage Foundation blueprint of the conservative alternative to single-payer healthcare along the lines of Medicare.
At that time, Republicans were not fond, at all, of the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act which requires any hospital participating in Medicare (i.e., most, if not all) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, underwritten in large part, by the federal government. Republicans hailed the Heritage Foundation plan, a market-based approach dependent on individual responsibility, much more to their liking.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/28/13 at 10:44 AM
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Let’s all not listen to Dick Cheney, m’kay?
The Prince of Darkness, Dick Cheney, has been throwing shade again, and I was kind of going to go into why what he’s saying doesn’t even make sense or go into how getting bin Laden probably couldn’t even be kept a secret and any intelligence gathered would have an expiration date and he’s just jealous anyway, but look. Let’s just get this out of the way—his relevance is as a historical figure, a member of the administration that blew off the intelligence that bin Laden was poised to strike on American soil and embraced bad intelligence about WMD’s in Iraq. He is respected by connoisseurs of a very particular art in politics because of how good he used to be. But let’s look at how he plies his particular forte these days:
He lies about whether he has fished with Senator Mike Enzi, because his darling little girl and fifth deferment wants the man’s job. Did the senator think they were any kind of friends? Huh. Well. Henry Whittington was a friend of Dick Cheney’s, too.
Now, maybe the former Vice President simply forgot whether he was part of a fly-fishing tournament with Enzi, because it’s not like angling is such a great passion of his (maybe compared to shooting little birds by the barrelful it isn’t), and besides, the man can forget a thing or two, can’t he? Like how often he might have met former Senator John Edwards when he dissembled about that during the 2004 campaign. No, it’s not quite as bad as the way he had repeated lies about, say, Saddam Hussein and yellowcake uranium, or the non-existent Mohammed Atta-Iraq connection. It’s a sign, however, of how petty he’s willing to be.
To the extent he acts trifling—he is trifling. He has managed to, in his retiring years, become the EF Hutton of bullshit, and I can’t imagine why anyone listens anymore.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/27/13 at 01:45 PM
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Not With a Bang, But a Whimper
Since November 7, 2012, literally millions of words have been dedicated to analyzing and describing the decline and fall of the Republican Party. I’ve contributed my share.
Some point fingers, some lash out, some ridicule, some despair. Others prescribe, coach, and recommend reform to little avail because many of the new hands are unqualified, irrational zealots and many of the old hands are frightened, tired and not up to the job of rehabilitating demagogues.
But now we’ve arrived at a tipping point in which the age old battle between those who would preserve what we have built vs those who would destroy everything and start over is about to be waged. We have to decide whether to “stay calm and carry on” or go crazy and break things.
Historically, similar battles have been waged with variable results so it is understandable that no one is quite sure how the current Rand-ian Self-Interest Crusade will change the face of American politics, if at all.
Personally, I tend toward the “if at all” side of the equation for a number of fairly prosaic reasons.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/20/13 at 09:22 AM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Postphoning the Goperdammurung?
It seems that whenever there is a Republican setback lately, whether electoral or politically in general, there are a spate of thinky pieces about what’s going wrong in the Republican Party and how they might fix it. I don’t despise the impulse, even while I find it overly optimistic and paradoxical. Many of the premature postmortem-writers aren’t ostensibly fans of the Republican party, to begin with. And rather than consider how whatever rupture between the party and the mainstream can be repaired, I know my gut instinct is to reach for a lever and pull like a mad mother. Political writers are, for the most part, I think, bright people and problem-solvers at heart. We are generally not rooting for armageddon. There is a code of honoring bar tabs and not kicking even bastards in the slats when they are down.
And I am a political writer and not immune to the zeitgeist, so why don’t I carve into this still-wriggling corpus and see what political wisdom may be extracted? (Let’s get it down first. And maybe a kick to the slats? And while we are here, a shiv and that lever. Thank you.)
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/19/13 at 04:30 PM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
It’s His Party: He Can Cry if He Wants To
The final (for now) congressional vote on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt limit finally happened, and here are our totals:
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history.
The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
I wil probably have a lot more to say about this later, but for now, keep in mind that there were 18 GOP Senators and 144 GOP House members (oh, yes, they were all GOP members), who for some reason thought not raising the debt ceiling would be fine with them. Among the “Nays” were usual suspects for the 2016 GOP presidential primaries—Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul—even Paul Ryan.
That’s kind of a disgrace, isn’t it? In a few years, will they be able to defend that? Will they maintain that this was a symbolic vote since they didn’t doubt in the least that the votes to pass were there? I guess we will see how that flies.
But speaking of whether or not the votes were there, I guess Boehner was not accurate when he previously said that the votes to pass a clean CR weren’t there. It’s possible he only thought he could get them if his members were under the debt limit gun, so to speak. But when you consider the last 16 days, and $24 billion lost in the economy, it just doesn’t seem like this was all that productive. does it?
This also takes us back to the dilemma from the beginning of the year—Boehner might really have only 80-odd reliable votes in his caucus, and Nancy Pelosi has pretty much the Democratic side. He’s a pretty weak speaker to begin with, and with yet another violation of the Hastert rule, once again, his Speakership may be in peril. But once again—who wants it? If Speaker Boehner looks like a man who drinks, he also looks to me like a man with reasons.
With an update since I posted at Strangely Blogged:
Which, when I composed all this last night, was a bit contigent upon more GOP members actually minding, but as of today, his Facebook page blowing up with dolchstoss imagery notwithstanding, it looks like the teafolk have electedto be cool. I deeply wonder if this is because Drunk Uncle John promises them Christmas, lets them stay up past their bedtimes, and will allow them to do this thing all over again. Unlike the GOP Senators, who are poopyheads.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/17/13 at 07:55 PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Pandering For Dummies
Anyone who thinks that the recent implosion of the Republican party signals a new day of maturity, logic and rationality in matters governmental probably also believed that the results of the 2012 presidential election would finally “break the fever” of hyper-partisanship in Congress.
From where I stand, Shutdown 2013 is looking like a warm-up act for what promises to be a fully-pyrotechnic, Apocalypse Now midterm campaign year with freak flags flying from “sea to shining sea.” I expect that Heritage Action and the Senate Conservative Fund, and their proud sponsor Koch Industries, will be out for blood and handing out torches and pitchforks to every True Patriot.
Now that President Obama has committed the ultimate crime of executive uppityness—standing up to House Republicans and laying bare their utter incompetence and impotence—he must be removed.
At the Philadelphia Convention, Benjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of “obnoxious” chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal — impeachment — would be preferable.
As a result we have Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution which states:
The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
That’s pretty straightforward. “High Crimes,” though a little dated and vague, sounds like pretty serious stuff. Nothing there about being apologetic, sex acts [I’m looking at you, Bill] socialism or playing too much golf. Nevertheless, impeachment has become a standard feature of the Republican playbook when a Democrat is in office. But, if it helps them blow off steam in an institutionally acceptable and relatively harmless way, why not.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/16/13 at 09:07 AM