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Monday, October 05, 2009

Phony Patriotism 

The boorish chortling of conservatives over Chicago's loss of the Olympics in 2016 may end up hurting the Republican Party more than ... say, the last eight years hurt them.

Celebrating an American defeat -- reveling in it -- is not only un-American, in the most basic meaning of that term, but just GROSS, in the medical meaning of that term.

Once again, Republicans seem so bankrupt, so morally uncentered, they're quite content to follow Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and little Billy Crystal off the cliff in the interests of personal animus.

Their laughter and applause at an American loss may echo down the halls of history a lot louder than their pious, empty posturing on "patriotism."

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Return of the Know-Nothings 

Ah, the odor of singed hair arising from the Republican Party of North Carolina. They're not so much "rebranding" (the source of that burned hair smell) as they're performing seances over the buried corpses of their ancient fears. The Know Nothings of 1840 were pikers compared to the hysterical mobs of today, taking their intellectual cues from the triumvirate of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh.

Public Policy Polling has found that "in North Carolina 64% of rural Republicans think [President Obama] was not born in the US, compared to 47% of Republicans overall." The statistic in the first part of that sentence is startling on its own, but what about the almost half of statewide Republicans who say they think we have an unconstitutional, unqualified foreigner (not to mention Muslim!) sitting in the White House?

That's what they say. Whether they actually believe it is another matter. It may be that they just woke up and discovered they lost the election and need some ready cudgel to flail at the air. "Foreigner" has had a long history as readily weaponized rhetoric in America.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I've found myself clenching up repeatedly since January 20th, wondering if this or that move by President Obama, this or that statement, this or that appointment to the cabinet, will be the ten-penny nail that seals his coffin and destroys his presidency. Sometimes I feel like frost-heaved soil, alternately thawing with the election and the Inauguration, and then freezing up again at the sight of too many Wall Street Boys in the Obama administration or too many fainting goats among the Democrats in Congress.

I'm tired of winter. I'm tired of fear. I've decided to relax and enjoy the Obama administration.

A smart man in the White House! A calm man. A thoughtful man. A man who can demand that the CEO of General Motors clean out his desk for abysmal performance, and the CEO of General Motors cleans out his desk! A man who is respected and even loved abroad, instead of a wince-inducing buffoon who bullied and blustered and proved on a daily basis that he was in way over his head. (Every time Fox News plays nostalgic TV footage of their hero, George W. Bush, Obama's ratings just go higher.)

And about those approval ratings. The newest polling shows that "the number of Americans who believe that the nation is headed in the right direction has roughly tripled since Barack Obama's election," and the American public actually seems to understand who was responsible for the economic meltdown (it ain't Obama). Despite the universal ululating of the Lilliputian Right, the Limbaugh-ettes who scream "socialism," the Dick Cheneys who intimate that our president is essentially a traitor, the Congressional Republicans who look increasingly like the flying monkeys who served the Wicked Witch of the West ... our president has the people solidly behind him and behind his agenda to change the policies of the last president.

I'm through holding my breath every time the cable-talkers tell me that Obama's presidency has failed because there's a chance that Wall Street or even Main Street is unhappy ("Morning Joe," I'm looking in your general direction). The special election yesterday in the NY-20 to fill the congressional seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand is, if anything and even though it isn't decided, proof that people in that Republican-leaning New York district are NOT willing to push back against the Obama administration.

If the American people cared what Congressional Republicans had to say, we would have a different situation on our hands. But the American people don't care what Congressional Republican have to say, aren't listening to them, and the more John Boehner and Mike Pence put both hands on their hips and stamp their feet, the more the American people can't stand the sight of them. (Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is now crying on cue as often as Glenn Beck, and with the same evident purpose of proving how superior her patriotism is to any Democrat's. No one cares.) We don't see any indication yet that the vast public is willing to run back into the baleful embrace of the same political/economic philosophy that landed us in this awful soup.

So I'm through with fear, through with holding my breath, through with jumping at the sound of squeaking hinges. I'm going to enjoy this moment in American history.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'll be back at my worry-beads before the sun goes down on the daffodils.

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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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Monday, March 02, 2009

The Man in Black 

Rush Limbaugh addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday as its closing act. Both C-SPAN and Fox carried the speech live. Limbaugh bragged early on in his remarks that he didn't need a teleprompter because he could speak endlessly without notes. He very nearly did speak endlessly. He went a full hour over his allotted time, proving that he did need a teleprompter. I did not see the speech live, but I've put my time in to watch it since, and more importantly, I've read the full transcript on the Fox News site. And here's the real news:

Rush Limbaugh's speech at CPAC was as big a trainwreck as Bobby Jindal's response to President Obama's speech to Congress.

Didn't use a teleprompter, because he didn't have a coherent speech with a logical argument to give. Instead, he offered an incoherent ramble, stuffed with off-hand (and standard) insults, plus anecdotes that went nowhere in particular -- all ultimately very revealing, though unintentionally so, like a slow-motion mental monologue on a psychiatrist's sofa. It takes a fairly large, random slice of the transcript to illustrate the (actually meaningful) mess:
Somebody says they want something that's bad for them, do you give it to them just to be nice? Or do you tell them, regardless of their age, no, you shouldn't have that? Well, it's none of your business. Maybe not. And then you back out of it. But you still have to have the ability to tell people what's right and wrong. And that's not authoritative. That's not authoritarian. And it's not trying to deny somebody a good time. It's not trying to interrupt somebody's hedonism, pleasure, it's about all of us with shared values trying to make sure that people live the highest quality lives they can. Ultimately, it's their decision as to what they do. But the point is, don't treat them -- especially voters -- as kids just -- they say they want it okay we'll come up with a plan to give it to you. Have any of you seen the movie -- I'd never heard of it, but I happened to get a DVD the other day. Anybody see the movie Swing Vote with Kevin Costner? You know, it's kind of a moronic movie like most things out of Hollywood are....

Strange that this famous man with a famous drug problem would have wandered off into these tall weeds about other people's "hedonism" and "pleasure," and then revealed that his social life is so pathetic that he's watching "moronic" movies in that 50,000-square-foot lonely, empty mansion of his.

What ultimately comes through the almost endless stumbling parade of this "speech," like a flashlight left burning in a corncrib, is Limbaugh's self-loathing, the irresistible desire to reveal his neediness for constant validation. The actual inanity of his speech, his inability to made a coherent argument, actually caused him to break out with a good case of flop-sweat, and he referred to it: "For those of you watching at home, I'm not nervous it's just really hot in here." It's his self-loathing, not the slings and arrows of outrageous lib'ruls, against which he must assert his superiority over and over again.

Because he was being broadcast live by Fox News, Limbaugh referred no less than ten times to his "first address to the nation," and it might be natural to write that off to a pomposity that can't see its own toes. But we see it as an inferiority complex fighting to bluff its way into polite company. Self-loathing that's learned to over-compensate with braggadocio.

Because buried waaay down in the transcript (and it seems like Hour Three of the speech), Limbaugh finally got to the thing itself, the source of his most recent humiliation and proof that his self-loathing is fully justified ... the fact that he wasn't even invited to the summit dinner of conservative intellectuals at George Will's when Barack Obama was the guest of honor. Again, to fully appreciate Limbaugh's own psychosis of inadequacy masquerading as egotism, we must quote this passage at length:
This is a funny story. Show you how I can hijack a news cycle even by doing anything [sic]. The Tuesday before the inauguration, President Bush invited me to the Oval Office for lunch. And it was on and off the record, some of the conversations. And he brought out, interesting, at the end of it -- my birthday had been the day before. He brought out a chocolate birthday cake, a microphone, and stood beside me with Ed Gillespie and sang happy birthday. Photographers taking pictures. I wish my parents were alive. My parents wouldn't believe my life. They came out of the Great Depression. They didn't think it was possible for somebody who did not go to college -- and even for people who did -- they didn't think this was possible. Life has changed so much for the better in this country.

.... So as I'm flying home from lunch, I'm watching television and I see that the word has leaked out that Obama is hosting a dinner with conservative media pundits at the home of George Will. I said: I wonder who these people are? [Laughter] In the media, one of them is going to have to leak it. Sure as heck, one did. Now, we all know who were there. And let's see -- I can't remember all the names, so I won't mention any. But let me tell you Obama's purpose. Does anybody really think that Barack Obama had dinner with a bunch of conservatives hoping they would change his mind?


RUSH: Hell, no. His purpose -- and his purpose really wasn't to change theirs -- his purpose was to anoint them as conservative spokesmen. These are the people that Obama's willing to break bread with. These happen -- some of the people there happen to be the people who think the era of Reagan is over, who believe that conservatism needs to be redefined. Of course Obama would try to lure them in. Well, all of a sudden I land. I get home about 5:00, and my e-mail is jammed with questions from reporters, are you, is that why you took the day off today? Is that why you're not on the air? Are you going to dinner with Obama? By the way, I left out a crucial part of the story. Was this a Monday, Kit? It was a Tuesday. I had forgotten to tell my audience that I was going to miss the next day. I signed off the show saying I'll see you tomorrow. That's the last thing I said. The staff reminded me you're not going to be here tomorrow. I came up with a plan, that the guest host the next day would say that I was called out of town to Washington at midnight the night before. Just an innocent little trick on the radio audience. Everybody picked that up and thinks I'm invited to the Obama dinner. So those people that were invited to it got less coverage than I did and I didn't even know about it. [Laughter] It was fun. [Applause]

Conservatives are naturally happy.

It would take a psychological dissertation to fully unpack the insecurities of that wholly inadvertent confession, the feelings of inadequacy and resentment displaying themselves as a full peacock strut, the little fat wad not picked by the poplar kids for the stickball team, and the apparently perfect revenge of (supposedly) stealing their moment of fame for himself, and then the crashing ironies of that last line ... "Conservatives are naturally happy" (especially when someone else can be imagined as perfectly miserable).

If one thing comes through Limbaugh's interminable monologue on the CPAC couch, it's this: "I'm an unhappy human being."

We want to congratulate the Republican Party for making this guy your national spokesman.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rush Limbaugh, The Real Loser Last Night 

Because Rush has been grooming Gov. Bobby Jindal as his own personal dittohead, Jindal's trainwreck last night in responding to President Obama had Limbaugh in something of a lather today on his radio blabfest.

Is this cosmic irony, or what? That the "I hope Obama fails" yakker is forced to defend the disastrous performance of the governor of Louisiana, whom Limbaugh has touted as "the next Ronald Reagan."

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Foxx's Fanaticism 

So there's Madam Virginia Foxx handing out quotes to Scott Nicholson in the Watauga Democrat about President Obama's economic stimulus plan, repeating the Rush Limbaugh talking points as though she had thought them up herself. What she actually reveals, however, is a truly morbid hope for American failure. We assume all her disdain for the president's attempt to get our economy moving again will prevent her from taking credit for any federal spending projects that get started in her 5th District. We'll be watching for those grand nuggets of hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, Republican governors, who perhaps understand a tad more about reality, not to mention economic policy, are supporting the president. Not just Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger in California but also the Republican governors of Connecticut and Vermont. According to the NYTimes, "Other Republican [governors] would have signed on ... but for party pressure in their states."

Last week, Madam Foxx told an interviewer that she couldn't think of one thing about the president's stimulus plan that she approved of. It's extremism like that which got our nation into this mess (this Republican economy), and it's extremism like that which sensible, pragmatic Republican governors want no part of.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Runaway Bride 

Sen. Judd Gregg is sorta the Tom Daschle of the Republican Party ... melting down when the heat's on.

They say he's been hammered relentlessly as a traitor by fellow Republicans.

They say he himself sought the office.

"I said yes. That was my mistake," said Gregg. Maybe Rush Limbaugh told him the wedding was off.

We find ourselves agreeing with Kos: Why not appoint an effing Democrat?

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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 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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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Giant Weenie Roast 

Rush Limbaugh is riding high, buoyed by his daily ability to be outrageous and get liberals all upset at him so that he can then play the victim of a liberal witch-hunt (uh, make that a "liberal Pillsbury dough-boy hunt").

So one day he says he hopes Obama fails.

Then yesterday he said that Republican leaders in Congress were essentially girly men.

This afternoon Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a very conservative member of the House, shot back and suggested that Limbaugh shut his fat trap. Rather, Gingrey essentially said that Limbaugh is out of touch:
You know you're just on these talk shows, and you're living well, and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of thing.

In other words, Limbaugh's a dilettante? Instead of The Most Important Conservative Philosopher in the History of the Universe?

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