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Friday, January 29, 2010

Republicans Choosing Their Favorite Color 

Showing that they continue to be in touch with regular working-class Americans, the Republican National Committee is meeting right now on the beautiful sandy beaches of Hawaii and deciding, incidentally, to impose a litmus test (lite) on all their candidates.

The Republican National Committee's resolutions panel "strongly backed a proposal that would require party officials to determine whether GOP candidates 'wholeheartedly' adhere to the party platform before they can win financial support."

This "lite" version of a loyalty test was a substitute for a heavier version "that would have forced GOP candidates to agree to a litmus test of 10 conservative principles before receiving party campaign dollars." Wouldn't you love to see the details in that 10-point list?

The best part of the article about this struggle over conservative purity is the pressure being exerted by a certain unruly insurgent mob: "...a leader of the Tea Party movement called on the RNC to accept [the more rigid litmus test] as a signal that the GOP really is interested in gaining support from the movement's members. Dick Armey, chairman of FreedomWorks and a former House Republican leader from Texas, said the party's failure to establish a standard by which to measure candidate positions would hurt the GOP."

As a notoriously pure airhead from Alaska would say, "You betcha!"

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The New Face of the Republican Party? 

Meet Doug Hoffman, losing candidate for the U.S. Congress in the NY-23. Hoffman did NOT run and lose as a Republican. He ran and lost as a tea-bagging conservative. The GOP did NOT initially pick Hoffman as its candidate. No, it was worse than that. It picked a "moderate" Republican woman, Dede Scozzafava, who does not hate gay marriage and is pro-choice on abortion rights. Which led (as we're sure you know) to a major uprising within Republican and tea-bagger ranks. Ended up that every major Republican presidential hopeful in 2012, along with many other prominent national Republican spokespeople, bailed on Scozzafava and started endorsing Mr. Creepy Man Hoffman. Got so bad that Scozzafava pulled out of the race and endorsed the Democrat, the Unknown Man, Bill Owens, who won last night ... the first Democrat to be elected from the NY-23 since before the Civil War. Put that in your tea bag and steep it!

If this is what the conservative movement brings to the Republican Party, GOP operatives have very little to be strutting about this a.m. Exit polling in both Virginia and New Jersey strongly suggest that the voters in those states were not lashing out at President Obama. They were lashing out at Corzine in New Jersey (good riddance to all such present and former Goldman Sachs bankers, sez I). In Virginia, the 2008 Obama voters stayed home and demonstrated that Virginia definitely ain't for lovers. It's for old people.

Certainly, in North Carolina Tom Fetzer and the state GOP have precious little to crow about (from what we've been able to see so far this a.m.). But more on that in a subsequent post.

The elections in New Jersey and Virginia WERE about Obama in one way: those states went for him a year ago because he promised change, he promised an up-ending of "business as usual," he promised visionary leadership and progressive ideals. He has not delivered. He surrounded himself with the wrong people, and instead of dynamic leadership, we've gotten maddening caution and Rahm Emanuel. I might have sat at home myself in New Jersey or Virginia yesterday.

We keep hoping that the other Barack Obama, the one who won that huge election a year ago and told us things were going to be different, is eventually going to actually inhabit the Oval Office.

If he doesn't, 2010 will indeed be awful.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Failure to Launch 

Congressional Republicans are now operating out of a parallel universe in which they think it's perfectly reasonable to release a "budget" that contains almost no numbers, except the imperative straight out of 1890 to reduce the tax rate on the richest among us to a flat 10 percent.

House Minority Leader John Boehner held up the royal-blue-bound 19-page Republican pamphlet yesterday at a big press conference and actually crowed: "Two nights ago, the president said we haven't seen a budget yet of the Republicans. Well, it's not true, because here it is Mr. President."

Thereby proving that Republican Congressional leaders CAN see their own mirages.

Mike Pence, chair of the House Republican Conference of hyper-conservatives, stood behind Boehner and looked like he was working on a good-sized kidney stone. But Mike Pence always looks that way, and turns out that yesterday's big roll-out of the Republican non-budget was mainly Pence's idea. According to Glenn Thrush at Politico, Pence prevailed over the more cautious Eric Cantor, Minority Whip, who is said to be "embarrassed" about this whole fiasco. We noted that Cantor got himself out of that room yesterday before the questions started flying.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Ada Fisher and the 11th Commandment 

Dr. Ada Fisher, representing North Carolina, is one of three African-Americans on the 168-member Republican National Committee. During the recent tussle over the chairmanship of the RNC, which Michael Steele won on the sixth ballot, Dr. Fisher supported Katon ("whites only") Dawson of South Carolina. She has apparently been a sharp little pebble in Michael Steele's shoe ever since, to the point that she wrote an e-mail to 11 people on Steele's "transition team" at the RNC, urging them to urge Steele to resign. Said e-mail was promptly leaked to The Hill newspaper.

Among other things, Dr. Fisher wrote: "I don't want to hear anymore [sic] language trying to be cool about the bling in the stimulus package or appealing to D.L. Hughley and blacks in a way that isn't going to win us any votes and makes us frankly appear to many blacks as quite foolish."

Last night, Fisher went on The Rachel Maddow Show to explain why she was calling for Steele's resignation. She cited the Eleventh Commandment for Republicans ("Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican") without specifying which Republican Steele had spoken ill of (or noticing, for that matter, that she herself was breaking that commandment big-time on the Rachel Maddow Show).

We are left to assume that Limbaugh is the Republican Steele spoke ill of and thus earned the wrath of Dr. Fisher. But we're not entirely sure.

This is not the first time Dr. Fisher attracted a little attention in trying to discipline a fellow Republican. She got after Chip Saltsman back in December after she received his CD of "Barack the Magic Negro." Chip Saltsman was also running for the chairmanship of the RNC at the time, and as we said earlier, Fisher was supporting another Deep South white boy whose own racial foibles did not seem to bother her at all.

Fisher has also run twice for Congress, both times against Mel Watt. For more background on Fisher, her Wikipedia page is here. Her campaign website is here.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Who's Flying This Plane? 

Well now! David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush, fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, and (last we heard) Respected Conservative Pundit, had this to say on Monday about "the duel" currently entertaining the public:
On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of "responsibility," and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as "losers." With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence -- exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we're cooperating!

Frum writes ('pears to us) more in sadness than in anger, but the characterization of The Man in Black seems much more a zinger (and from Limbaugh's own section in the bleachers) than any of the stuff Michael Steele intimated and about which Limbaugh unleashed the full BTUs of his scorn.

David Frum (bless his heart) is showing fellow Republicans how to get their testicles out of hock.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009


We don't know if Noam Scheiber is correct in his analysis, but we can always hope:
For weeks now, Obama has soared above the fray -- inviting dour-looking Republicans to the White House for cookies and patiently hearing them out on Capitol Hill. Once again, the Republicans have exploited this stance, notching a series of tactical victories, like their unanimous no-vote in the House last week. And, once again, liberals have panicked .... But complaints ... miss what's been accomplished these last few weeks: Obama has completely defined the stimulus narrative on his own terms. To the average voter, Obama has been earnest and conciliatory while the Republicans have been cynical, self-serving, and puerile. Which, if the past is any guide, is precisely the moment he'll start playing hardball.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

They're Going to Need a Bigger Boat 

Apparently, it's official: Rush Limbaugh is now the head of the Republican Party.

Let the strutting begin: "Obama is obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of, say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party."

Polling of independent voters, however, suggests that Limbaugh could be Obama's greatest asset: "He motivates a core Republican, who is a very important part of the Republican coalition, and we need those guys to be interested and active," said Jan van Lohuizen, a GOP strategist in Washington. "But it's not enough. The Republican Party has shrunk and it needs to be expanding."

But when you've got Limbaugh and his ego, you've got an army right there!

Across the board, Limbaugh's unfavorable ratings are about twice his favorables. So keep him at his golden microphone, Republicans. Him, and your chief economics advisor, Joe the Plumber.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Limbaugh: "This Was All About Race" 

Michael Steele, the new Chair of the Republican National Committee (who, incidentally, has been known to pal around with Republicans), said yesterday after his election, "This is the dawn of a new party moving in a new direction with strength and conviction."

Mummies on the march!

Steele also said, somewhat cryptically, "We're going to say to friend and foe alike: 'We want you to be a part of us, we want you to be with us.' And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over."

Obstructionists? Was he talking about Republican members of Congress? Did he clear those remarks with Rush?

Steele's an interesting politician. A black Republican in the heavily Democratic state of Maryland, he was elected lieutenant governor of the state partly by posing as a Democrat. Really. He used bamboozlement. And his campaign recruited homeless men and women from Philadelphia (twice) to hand out flyers on election day that identified him as a "Democrat."

Steele was supposedly the most moderate of the candidates running yesterday, but he has struck poses that look remarkably similar to the far right. During his failed Senate campaign in 2006, he said stem cell research was like Nazi experimentation.

He didn't say a word, however, about the morality of reanimating the dead.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

The New Republican Party Chair 

As predicted down-column, it's Michael Steele on the 6th ballot.

Came down to a contest between Steele and South Carolina's Katon Dawson, who was apparently the favorite of the party's most conservative elements.

One North Carolina conservative sounds unhappy at the prospect of Michael Steele, whom she labels a "squishy moderate" and then a "main street Republican" (apparently, that's a bad thing) but then backpedals and says she's happy happy happy to have any new chair of the Mummy Party.

Looks like a lot of the same old dust to us. But time will tell, as it always does with mummies.

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The Head Mummy 

The Mummy Party is supposed to be choosing its Head Mummy today at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting. According to The Politico, incumbent RNC Chairman Mike Duncan is in the lead, followed by former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson, with Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell far back. Former Tennessee Republican Chair Chip Saltsman, he of "Barack the Magic Negro" fame, dropped out of the race yesterday (bless his heart).

We're betting on Michael Steele to win. Republicans may feel that they need their OWN magic Negro to counter-balance President Obama.

Not that any of this matters very much. Whoever becomes the new Republican Chair will have to answer to the REAL party boss, Rush Limbaugh, who's already decreed that President Obama must be made to fail at all costs. Madam Virginia Foxx and all the other little Republican foxes in the House instantly obeyed their leader and voted for Obama's failure in the stimulus bill. Even Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia was forced to apologize to The Great One for asking him to pipe down about hoping for Obama's failure. You DO NOT cross the Limbaugh!

All of which is yummy pudding for Rush's fragile ego.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Blossoming of Virginia Foxx 

Bless her heart, Virginia Foxx has found her moment at last.

Fate has dealt the Congresswoman what she’s not had since she entered Congress in 2004 ... something, somebody to be wholeheartedly and unreservably against.

The Republican Party has always been much better at opposition than at governing (need we mention the last eight years?). Being in opposition is easier, and neater, and more exhilarating, and infinitely more theatrical. To point the finger of accusation, to sound the knells of doom, to light the bonfires of outrage ... these are actions so much more satisfying to the frustrated drama queens of the GOP.

Madam Foxx can hardly believe her luck, to grab a florid moment in the national spotlight as the congresswoman who would deny the new president the other half of George W. Bush’s stupid TARP money. How convenient for her that the actual authors of that stupidity are out the door (since they happen to be the standard bearers of her own party). With Bush & Co. gone safely to seed, she can oppose to her spleen’s content.

Does she have an alternate plan? Well, no, not exactly. “Let the market work”? Wouldn’t that have turned out well, if Virginia Foxx and her fellow congressional Republicans had gotten their way to privatize Social Security and pump the money into the same market that hasn’t finished crashing yet? What did Madam Foxx want to do during the recent failure of banks? Stand by and watch?

The sun rising on Obama is also rising on the conservative obstructionists. When Republicans are out of power, there are no evident requirements that they have an actual idea, a plan, a solution. Being in opposition is its own idea. No solutions required. Just John Boehner playing Aunt Pittypat: “Oh my heavens!”

No solutions nor intellectual consistency, either. Recently, Madam Foxx said that she was “philosophically opposed to the federal government operating this way” (handing out money in the financial services bail-out), but she was famously in favor of the United States Congress imposing itself on a private family matter in the Terri Schiavo case. Foxx was an enthusiastic foot-soldier in that unprecedented imposition of federal power, mugging for those C-SPAN cameras in an early foretaste of her theatrical talents.

But apparently, giving out ultimatums in private moral matters is quite different from giving out money to people or institutions who need it.

Madam Foxx has never tired of using her own early childhood poverty as a banner for her character, and apparently no one EVER helped her. She intends to get her revenge for that. So if you’re hurting right now and there’s something government might do to help out, don’t go to The Madam all whiny and stuff, because she’ll gush like an artesian well, NO NO NO NO.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Your Grandfather's GOP 

Bless their hearts, but a cabal on the Republican National Committee intends to force conservative orthodoxy on their elected leaders, fashioning a resolution that they intend to ram through at their end-of-January national meeting which says flat-out that George W. Bush has taken the country toward socialism. And men like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner aided and abetted.

"Socialism." Might as well have accused Shrub of being a dirty, 5th-column Commie. Well, as a matter of fact...

We applaud this upwelling of The Pure in the National Republican Party and can't wait to see this played out.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

What Conservatives Think Is Funny 

Chip Saltsman, Tennessee Republican operative and campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, is a self-declared candidate for chair of the Republican National Committee, and he thought it would be cool to send out Christmas greetings to all 168 members of the Republican National Committee, who'll be voting for their new party chair come January, and to tuck in a bonus CD of Rush Limbaugh-inspired novelty songs, one of which was "Barack the Magic Negro." Other songs on the CD, all of which enjoyed some air time on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, include "John Edwards' Poverty Tour," "Wright Place, Wrong Pastor," "Love Client #9," "Ivory and Ebony," and "The Star Spanglish Banner."

Chip Saltsman thought it was funny, bless his heart. Others ... not so much.

"I am shocked and appalled," Mike Duncan, the current party chairman, said in a statement released Saturday. Mr. Duncan's shock, appalling as it was, might have been ramped up somewhat by the fact that he's running against Saltsman (and four others) to continue in his job as party chair.

Newt Gingrich was even more categorical in his denunciation: "This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it."

Blah, blah, blah.

We wouldn't be talking about this even now except that as of today there's a new North Carolina wrinkle: Dr. Ada Fisher, a Salisbury doctor and one of only three black members of the Republican National Committee, wrote an open letter to Saltsman:
"Racist actions and deeds have no place in the party. The lack of sensitivity in understanding the historical election we just had and the challenges this nation faces as we must bind our wounds as well as bring our people together requires that we set aside our biases and search out those constitutional principles inherent in our nation's foundings and our parties operation which must undergrid us as we move forward."

Okay then. Dr. Ada Fisher, bless her heart, trying to talk a little racial sensitivity to the likes of Chip Saltsman ... not that that's going to help. And indeed, the next shoe to drop dropped just minutes ago, when Thunder Pig, a conservative western NC blogger, accused Fisher of a kind of partisan treachery with a posting headlined "Ada Fisher Joins Lefties, RINOs in a Racially Motivated Attack on RNC Chair Candidate."

Ada Fisher ought to be ashamed of herself!

For the record, Fisher herself had already come out in support of South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson as the new RNC chair. Also for the record, until approximately 38 minutes ago, Dawson was the member of a country club that wouldn't allow Dr. Ada Fisher through the front door.

Never mind that. And never mind, too, that Thunder Pig's high dudgeon directed at Ada Fisher for criticizing Saltsman does not so far seem to extend also to Mike Duncan and Newt Gingrich. Are they RINOs too?

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Phoenix Power? 

Talking Points Memo got its mitts on a private memo written by Republican National Committee Chair Mike Duncan to the members of his group, and it makes for some interesting reading. Especially in light of the fact that Duncan is running for reelection to his post against five others who have not been (in public, at least) half as honest as Duncan is in his memo.

To wit...
Republican troubles are largely "self-inflicted wounds"

"...many Americans today believe the party is stale and does not deserve that label ["Party of Ideas"]..."

"...we have not used our principles to provide solutions to the kitchen table concerns of middle-class America..."

Republicans have a debilitating habit of "falling back on ideology alone"

Now, Duncan wrote his memo as introduction to his new initiative, the Center for Republican Renewal, but introduced as the appointed director of this new center one Steven J. Duffield who was also the force behind the 2008 Republican National Platform.

This is how the Republicans will transcend the dictates of ideology? Duffield was responsible for producing one of the most ideologically narrow political documents in history. So we're left wondering just how "Republican renewal" is going to hatch out of that stale egg.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Cao Pivot 

Amazing what a few months will do in the Republican Party to the wholesale mocking of "community organizers." Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani both stood on the stage in St. Paul at the Republican National Convention and jeered Barack's background as basically unAmerican or at least contemptible.

Now they're cheering the Vietnamese community organizer Anh "Joseph" Cao, who beat incumbent Democrat William Jefferson in Louisiana for a seat in the U.S. House.

You'd think, in fact, to listen to Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner, that Cao's candidacy was ALL his idea. The fact is, however, that Cao was considered such a laughable long-shot that not a single Republican in Louisiana's congressional delegation donated to his campaign (according to Politico).

You'd also think, to hear Boehner and Newt Gingrich crowing about Cao's victory, that the national GOP has now turned the corner after its disastrous November defeat and is miraculously appealing to minority voters. Never mind that Cao's opponent had been indicted on 16 counts of bribery.

Cao sounds pretty good to us, what little we've read. He and part of his family were evacuated to Texas from Saigon when he was eight years old. He earned his B.S. from Baylor University and then decided to become a Jesuit priest (which tells us at least two things: he's a hardliner on abortion, but he's also a hardliner against social injustice, and he knows how to argue -- okay, that's three things). After an additional college degree at Fordham, he taught for a time including at Loyola University in New Orleans. He left the Jesuits, married (he has two small children), and became a lawyer in New Orleans particularly specializing in "social and legal equity" for immigrants. "Joseph initiated programs to help victims of torture and to provide social and cultural developments for poor minorities" (from his campaign website). His most intense community organizing came following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated both his home and his law office: "Joseph has endured struggles against insurance companies and the political leadership and has proven to be a leader in rebuilding the Vietnamese community. He assisted the residents in New Orleans East in their successful fight against a landfill that threatened to change the social fabric of their community. He fought energy and telecommunication companies to have basic necessities restored in a timely fashion."

Now there's every chance in the world that Joseph Cao will give up his beliefs in social and legal justice and start voting in lock-step with his Republican brethren in the House. But we doubt it. We've known a few Jesuits in our time, and they do not as a tribe tend to blow with the winds. Historically, they're much more into martyrdom for their cause, if it comes to that. And so far, Joseph Cao looks as though he's an advocate for the poor against the rich and powerful.

Never mind the bear hug that John Boehner and Newt Gingrich are trying to wrap him in.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Additional GOP Diagnoses To Be Ignored 

Charlie Cook headlines two of the "best minds" among the ranks of national Republican operatives and their prescriptions for bringing their party back from the grave. These two operatives choose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons: their advice is going to be heroically ignored and their advice would earn them a one-way trip on a sharp rail out of town if anyone knew their names.

The first operative flies directly in the face of most of the GOP soul-searching we've so far covered here:
...when I hear people say it is still a center-right country and that we need to return to our conservative roots, I think that is a long-term strategy to do nothing and a strategy that will keep us in a permanent minority.

The second operative ends up with this fourth point:
...stop being [misguided] on immigration. We are alienating huge parts of the electorate, we are turning our primaries into single issue "hate" contests and ignoring the single fastest growing bloc of voters in the country.

We can be thankful that all this advice will not be read, and if read, will not be followed. From what we've seen, Republicans intend to purge their faint-hearted "moderates" and charge off even more resolutely toward the Cliff of Total Wacko Extremism.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

GOP Consensus? 'Take Down the Big Tent' 

The Republican Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, oft-mentioned these days as a potential new leader of the disgraced GOP, opines about the future of his party at and not only agrees with other leaders who are calling for MORE conservatism but also ups the ante slightly by dissing El Presidente's "compassionate conservatism" as mere window-dressing that didn't fool anybody and by actually calling for a purge of moderate or "fake conservative" elements in the party. He doesn't name names, naturally, but we wonder who he's talking about. Could it be Sen. John McCain who needs ousting? Maybe the two Maine senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, whose "moderation" famously led them to vote against the conviction of Pres. Bill Clinton in his impeachment.

If it would be of any help to Gov. Sanford and his fellow travelers, we would be glad to begin work on a short list of prominent Republicans who look suspiciously non-doctrinaire, "persons of interest" whose very presence in the GOP is simply (probably) holding everybody back.

We'll also be glad to hold the governor's coat while he leads the ritual stoning.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This Is What the GOP Will NOT Do 

At least in the South, which -- let's face it -- IS the Republican Party of the future ... leaders of the party will most definitely NOT follow the advice of this former speech writer for Ronald Reagan.

Jeffrey Hart sez ... these discredited Bushian policies must be dropped:

banning abortion

the block on stem cell research

income tax cuts for the wealthy

attaching Social Security to the Stock Market (privatization)

repatriating 12 million illegal immigrants instead of offering them a road to citizenship ("amnesty")

Sez Jeffrey Hart:
A major -- perhaps insoluble -- problem conservatives face is that the aggressive "social conservatism" of the Republican base and its activists does not appeal to moderates and independent voters.

Getting more specific, Jeffrey Hart sez:
First, the Republican party must distance itself from evangelicalism as the policy preferences of evangelicals have only minority support....

Second, the Republican party must drop its hostility to science:
Bush blocked federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and advocated teaching intelligent design along with evolution. Teaching intelligent design? Where? Biology class? Not since the 1920s has evolution been a subject of political controversy. Astonishing. Now it is controversial again because we are in what historians describe as the third evangelical awakening.

Third, and to put it simply, the Republican party finds itself on the wrong side of history and in opposition to history, like the freedom of women over themselves and their bodies.

4. Movement conservatism is dead. Not acknowledging that would in itself be fatal.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ladies & Gents: The GOP of 2009! 

We can relate to the flummoxing loss the national Republican Party has gone through. Been there.

We are reading the prescriptions for healing itself with great interest, put out by many voices, the most compelling of them conservative insiders who think for a living. The choice seems to be to renew from the ground up, find a way (or just new language) to make conservatism appealing to a broader cross-segment, particularly independent voters who don't fancy fear-mongering and puritanical attacks on personal behavior.

Or ... they could double-down on fear-mongering and puritanical attacks on personal behavior and become even more a minor regional party headquartered in the Old South.

Georgia Republican Congressman Paul Broun has announced his choice. It's the latter:
"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, [Obama]'s the one who proposed this national security force. I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism .... That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist .... We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential."

It may sound a bit crazy. Check.

"Radical socialism or Marxism," which may be identical to fascism, or maybe not -- we're looking into it -- but when you're making Mulligan stew, you throw in a lot of ingredients and hope they cook together. Check.

Mr. Broun is NOT comparing Obama to the person he just compared him to. Check.

Now here's a political party that is maybe becoming a tad over-caffeinated, something we're sure Sarah Palin would absolutely love to head-up. You betcha!

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Surviving Sarah Palin 

Everything you needed to know about the lethal split in the Republican party was summed up in that snide comment about Sarah & Todd Palin, leaked to the press from a high-up in the McCain campaign a day after the election:
Todd and Sarah Palin were "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast." Newsweek

Hillbillies. That word was the choice of a member of the elite, power-base of the Republican Party calling the upstart, populist, conservative know-nothing rank and file of the Republican Party the worst name that a white American can call another white American.


That word opened the door wide on the true contempt that the current rulers of the GOP harbor for the back-country troops that they regularly rile up with gays, God, and guns, just long enough to win an election, and then continue to ignore or take for granted until the next electoral contest.

The use of that word hillbillies, along with the other garbage about Palin that got dumped into the media bloodstream immediately following the McCain defeat, was clearly meant to destroy her forever as a credible national leader. That speaks to how much the GOP power elite actually fear the great unwashed hoards of their own Huns.

This a.m. Craig sent me a link to an anonymous essay ("Sarah Palin Is the Future of Conservatism") by a political consultant who digs deeper into the Republican Party's Palin problem:
Within the hierarchies of the old right, Sarah Palin's style of pseudo working class conservatism was reserved for the proverbial back of the bus. Her type was not to speak, but to be spoken to; they were assigned to work as the foot soldiers in campaigns and be ignored until the next election.

But as social divisions widen and opportunity declines, there will be an ever-decreasing market for the type of homely business conservatism dished along with breakfast at the local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. The style of conservatism that Sarah Palin represents will be the only one that has a majoritarian future in today's America. The populist conservatism will be openly hateful, paranoid, anti-intellectual, belligerently militaristic and most significantly ideologically inconsistent and opportunistic.

Hateful, paranoid, anti-intellectual ... you get the drift of where we're headed?

If you need a stronger hint about the forces the GOP has always felt privileged to toy with but which Palin may unleash for real on us all, the Stokes County resident who erected a big upsidedown American flag the day after the election, and then spray-painted a giant 'X' through the whole thing as a symbol of his hatred for Obama and for all who voted him into office, might be instructive. That's a photo above (from the W-S Journal) of the man's hateful, paranoid, anti-intellectual touch-up of the American flag. The violence of the emotion behind it is perfectly clear.

Sarah Palin is that man's hero. She will have her revenge on the Republican power elite, you betcha, and she may cause the Stokes County flag-displayer to have (a somewhat peculiar) love well up in his heart again.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Grudge 

Sarah Palin was quite handy using her power as governor of Alaska in prosecuting a grudge against a former brother-in-law. She "unlawfully abused her power," according to an Alaska legislative panel's conclusion out this a.m. The panel is composed of ten Republican and four Democratic state legislators.

Apparently, she's also got a few similar ideas about how she'll run the U.S. Senate, according to what she told a third-grader, in answer to the question "What does the Vice President do?" "They're in charge of the U.S. Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes...."

Well, no. The Constitution gives the Vice President the privilege of presiding over the Senate and casting a vote only in the case of a tie, but the Senate is run by the Majority Leader, armed with a rule book that would take a platoon of Jesuits to penetrate and understand.

Palin has other ideas. She seems to think that the federal government will yield to her magical power like the Alaskan state bureaucracy, or at least to the threats of violence posed by her hubby. (The report referenced above concluded that Todd Palin "has extraordinary access to the governor's office and her closest advisers. He used that access to try to get trooper Mike Wooten fired....")

At least, if she gets into that presiding chair in the U.S. Senate, she'll look ... well-dressed! Also in the news this a.m.: The Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 "to clothe and accessorize" Palin, and that wouldn't be from Wal-Mart or Target, either, but from off the racks at Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus and Bloomingdale's.

Nice duds, Governor! Way to demonstate how the GOP is conservative in managing its money!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Mailbag Floweth Over 

Just this week has brought a plethora -- a PLETHORA, we tell you! -- of political mail, some of which deserves actual reading:

1. Today, a letter from John McCain: "Dear Friend, We've reached a critical juncture in the campaign...."

Surely you jest, Sir. An actual "critical juncture"?

"...I would not ask for your help if the circumstances were not so dire," John continues.

We know. We've been actually paying attention. Sarah Palin turned out to be a bit of a problem, right? and that Christopher Buckley endorsement of Obama was a bit of a slap.

But still, Senator, you're trying to get big bucks out of us and you don't even use the adjective "liberal" once? Not ONCE?? Just how desperate are you, anyway? And you don't even want the money yourself. You want me to send it to ... the Republican National Committee? Death by proxy?

2. Speaking of ambiguous gestures, one of our pieces (actually, we got two, which doesn't speak well about the GOP's wasteful habits) was from that selfsame Republican National Committee ... a four-color, four-page item headlined "AMERICA, The Land That I Love" ... at which point we have to turn the page to discover that Barack Obama will take away "our traditional American values." Then on the third panel, it quotes the National Journal, the very publication that yesterday accepted the resignation of Christopher Buckley for endorsing Barack Obama, because of his love of America. Ooooh. Damn inconvenient irony, that!

3. "Meet Jerry Butler," suggests a third piece, its message of friendly neighbor-over-the-fence introduction undercut somewhat by that big off-putting photo of the candidate. Eighty percent of success is good lighting, we've always heard.

4. The biggest, the glossiest four-color, four-page piece comes from The Madam, with multiple photographs of Virginia Foxx wedging herself into family reunion shots with lots of creeped-out children. If the goal here is to try to humanize the inhuman, we're afraid it doesn't quite work. While the people she's pictured with seem secure in their ordinary reality, Madam Foxx stares down the camera like a tensed up puma, waiting to spring.

5. Another big glossy mailing attacking Barack Obama, from the Republican National Committee. Looks like they've got plenty of money, John.

6. Dan Soucek, posing in his military uniform. Interesting special pleading, that. "Paid for by Soucek for NC House."

7. "Republican Dan Soucek: Proudly Pro-Life." "Paid for by the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee."

8. through 13. Attack pieces against U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan (and suddenly, true political desperation has an outline). Heavy involvement here by outside groups. Three of these five pieces were paid for by the Associated Builders and Contractors Free Enterprise Alliance. One of their pieces is proud of Elizabeth Dole because she'll drill for oil everywhere immediately. The other claims that North Carolina has the highest tax burden in the Southeast and blames the patently pro-business Kay Hagan for that. (That first claim is just pure buffalo dust; the second, laughable.) The third uses "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" as though Kay Hagan were the Washington insider rather than Elizabeth Dole. The last two anti-Hagan pieces came from Freedom's Watch, which, according to Wikipedia, was formed in 2007 primarily to support the Bush administration and especially the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Apparently, Kay Hagan is a threat to the Bush legacy.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

GOP: Convention Interruptus? 

Republicans consider postponing their convention next week because of the hurricane.

Gosh. Now they're calling Barack Obama "the hurricane"?

Oh, you mean there's an actual storm drawing a bull's-eye on the Gulf coast?

Does this perhaps indicate, incidentally, that God has a sense of humor? Or might the Republicans consider fingering as the culprit the preacher who said he was praying fervently for God to send buckets of rain down on Obama's outdoor acceptance speech tonight? Maybe God heard but was feeling ironic.

Not only are Republicans now on the wrong side of history. They're on the wrong side of the weather.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Analysis of What Went Wrong with Conservatism 

Conservatives have been "cocooning," that's what. Encasing themselves in their own aromas of righteousness and letting nary a stray thought intrude into their crystalline palace.

Well, we got a glimpse of what was gestating inside that cocoon, and it wasn't a thousand years of Republican rule, charted by Karl Rove. Instead, out stepped something supposedly blessed by Saint Ronnie but looking a lot like Wilfred Brimley and sounding suspiciously like Jerry Falwell come again. Despite what happens in November, there's likely a revolution coming among conservatives, despite what the remnants of the Republican Party decide to do.

That's some of the insight offered by this profile piece and by Ed Cone's interview with Jon Henke, one of the founding bloggers of "The Next Right."

Common to both pieces is the largely unrecognized arrival on the cusp of power of the new libertarians, the younger "conservatives" who have no particular use for the old face of conservativism, the anti-abortion and anti-gay crusaders (nor do they have all that much tolerance for marijuana laws) and who particularly abhor the expansionist militarism of the neo-con wing of Republicanism.

More power to 'em.

Now if they can just figure out where to bury all the victims of laissez-faire economics, without drawing undue attention, they'll be on their way!

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rebranding the Dog Food 

Metaphors can be dangerous things, and by the time today's Sunday Morning Gas Bags had their say, the Republican Party had become the equivalent of "downer" cows being turned into dog food that nobody would buy and no dog would eat, yet some party leaders were speaking hopefully of "rebranding."

Maybe borrow the branding of a leading anti-depressant ... "Change You Deserve."

Here we thought that good stalwart Republicans had always been opposed to rewarding mediocrity!

Nobody deserves this mess o' pottage.

But this project to repackage the politics that nobody wants anymore should be an entertaining spectator sport for the next few months.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

How Do You Revive an Elephant? interviewed a panel of Republican campaign experts and distilled their best thinking about the party's current political crisis, "Six Ways the GOP Can Save Itself."

In brief, the six "fixes":

1. Get a clue

2. Cut the crap

3. Beg for help

4. Burn the Bush

5. Change the pitch — and your face

6. Fan the fear

It's an interesting prescription, jangling with contradictions, especially in the way # 6 ("Fan the fear") clashes with the game-changing behavior advised elsewhere in the list. By "Fan the fear" those wise Republican operatives advise attacking the patriotism of Democrats (especially Obama, natch!) at every opportunity. Pardon us, but that's more of the crap that # 2 in the list says you should cut. Just saying.

You can read the discussion that goes with each of the six suggestions for yourself -- and it's entertaining reading! -- but # 4 is especially engaging: the advice to Republican office-holders is to run as far away from George W. Bush as humanly possible, and as fast. We reflect on the problem that scheme is going to pose for at least two of our North Carolina delegation, both Virginia Foxx and Liddy Dole. Both have proven to be dedicated yes-women to every presidential whim. Imagine them unplugged from the Bush command central. Why, it's unimaginable. And Foxx especially has already memorialized herself forever as the Sumo wrestler who would not be denied multiple smooches of the presidential mug.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Democrat Wins Special Election in Mississippi 

Travis Childers, a Democratic county court official in a very rural patch of northeastern Mississippi, won a special election for Congress tonight in a district that has elected conservative Republicans since at least 1994.

The big news in this win, however, is that once again the Republican machine threw implicit associations with Barack Obama at Childers, adding the guilt-by-association with Nancy Pelosi to Childers' short-comings, and none of it worked. (Politico analysis of the campaign here)

They couldn't beat a Democrat in a safe Republican district IN MISSISSIPPI, in RURAL Mississippi, at that, by tying the Democrat to the BLACK (probably Muslim!) presidential candidate.

That's the real news of the night, not West Virginia.

People are just that sick of the GOP.

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