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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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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pity the Corporations! 

Thank Gawd SCOTUS came to the rescue of corporate America! In re Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission the all-powerful Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overturn a 1990 decision that upheld restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates and a 2003 decision that upheld the part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that restricted campaign spending by corporations and unions.

Word is that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx praised this SCOTUS decision in Rural Hall yesterday, saying it was a freedom of speech issue. Makes perfect bent sense. Freedom of speech is now a commodity open for bids. What Congress person would be such a dope as to vote against the interests of the corporations ... big banks, big insurance, big drug companies, big everything under the sun, when those Big Boys can buy unlimited TV time to trash your ass?

Incidentally, Foxx's attempt to co-opt the tea party movement in Rural Hall yesterday did not exactly bring out the masses. The meeting was held in a building at the end of a dead-end road, as if the purpose of holding the meeting was to discourage as many people getting there as possible. That creepy secrecy aside, Foxx is trying to ride a tiger that could just as easily turn and devour her.

The attempt of the Republican Party to take over the tea party movement for their own benefit is both clumsy and dangerous. The National Tea Party convention, now scheduled for Feb. 4-6 at a swanky Nashville venue, has been denounced as both a high-dollar event being put on for profit and an attempt by the National Republican Party to grab the anti-government movement for themselves. Said disgusted tea-partier Kevin Smith,
"What began as cries for true liberty and a public showing of frustration with the big government policies of both Democrats and Republicans has now been co-opted by mainstream Republican demagogues determined to use this as their 2010 election platform."

That explains perfectly Madam Foxx's attendance yesterday in Rural Hall.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Foxx Moving Farther Right 

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx draws a Glenn-Beck-inspired challenger on the right, and the next thing you know, Virginia Foxx is planning on showing up at a Forsyth County "meetup" of the Glenn-Beck-inspired "912 group."

That's called cause and effect.

Anyone got an iPhone to go record her remarks in Rural Hall? Our guess is that V. Foxx is going to be moving even farther right than she already is, which means she may fall off the map of the known world. She will, however, want to keep those extreme opinions secret from the general public, or more specifically from moderate Republicans and independent voters in Forsyth county and elsewhere.

This a.m. the NYTimes has a long article up about the tea-party movement -- many diverse fringe and splinter groups, including Glenn Beck's 912 org and the guys who show up at presidential appearances packing guns. Some of that movement's savvier leaders are moving to take over the Republican Party from the precinct level up. We think this is a splendid idea. If they did that in Watauga County, however, they'd be essentially throwing out Virginia Foxx, since she runs the local party through her paid staff member who is also chair. We forget his name.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Too Many Mad Hatters at the Tea Party 

Trouble in the "tea party" movement.

Sez a Texas tea party organizer: "You have some interesting folks in the Tea Party movement -- some of them I can support, but some of them are kind of out there and radical, and I don't want to associate myself with them."

So the supposed "movement" is making like cheap pine furniture: there's a lot of splintering and some sore asses.

Extremism is great for movements ... up to a point (to be specific, the point at which your movement needs to attract more people than it repels by virtue of its Obama-Is-Hitler and health-care-reform-is-the-Holocaust rhetoric).

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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, July 31, 2009

The Republican Game Plan: Disruption, Confusion, Massive Lying 

A memo has leaked instructing tea-baggers and other Repub-symps on how to behave when Democratic members of Congress hold their town-hall meetings with voters during the August recess. A few high-points (but follow the link above to see the whole thing):

1. Artificially Inflate Your Numbers

2. Be Disruptive Early and Often

3. Try to "Rattle Him," Not Have an Intelligent Debate

Well, okay then.

Democratic members of Congress need to grow a pair and stand up to this bullshit. In fact, go on the offensive against it.

At least Democrats are holding town hall meetings! When's the last time Virginia Foxx stood up anywhere in her district and took questions from voters? We happen to have that date emblazoned in our memories ... January 25, 2006. Two Thousand and Freakin' Six!

She's only brave when she's absolutely sure no one is going to ask her an unscripted question.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ah, Texas 

Reader Jeff sent me this essay by James Moore about the current movement toward secession in Texas, a flirtation with treason led by that state's governor (and towering cathedral of sapience), Rick Perry.

James Moore is one of our favorite Texas authors, now that Molly Ivins is no more with us. He co-authored "Bush's Brain" about that other towering monument of self-aggrandisement, Karl Rove. It was in that book that I learned that Karl Rove and I shared Salt Lake City at the same time, he an aspiring Young Republican at Highland High School while I was studying Milton and English revolutionaries at the University of Utah. We turned out differently. He's rich.

Moore's little essay about some recent history of Texas separationists and the current Republican psychosis (it's called "defeat," guys) flooded me with my own memories of growing up in the Lone Star State, where most male babies seem to be born with a swagger and an innate drive to over-compensate.

Texans will talk to complete strangers. They almost prefer strangers, especially when delivering proclamations of intolerance. I was catching a plane in Houston once, and a gentleman in regulation Texas-wear -- a big white cowboy hat, boots, leather jacket (I'm NOT making this up) -- turned to me from the next seat over, asked, "Where bound?" I replied, "Washington, D.C." He snorted. "Whole place needs to be nuked," he said, and though the extravagance of that prescription seemed to invite laughter, you could tell from the steeliness of his gaze and the total lack of humor in his affect, that he totally and completely meant it.

For the next 30 minutes and until my flight was called, thankfully, he outlined a typical Texan's beef not just with the national government but pretty much with all government. I didn't argue with him. I mainly nodded and said "That so?" the way you'd converse with a meth addict playing with a gun.

In the household I grew up in, my father made fun of Texas dudes like that one, though he worked for them all his life, guys with big booming voices and big ideas and big egos. My father knew they called the shots, but they were just larger-than-usual pissants when the door was closed.

My political science teacher while I was still in Texas once told me, when the topic turned to Lyndon Baines Johnson and his whole history of chicanery, which was well known in Texas, "Son, given the choice between an outright crook and a complete idiot, Texans will always choose the crook."

In the case of Rick Perry, they apparently went with the idiot, and a larger-than-usual pissant.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Where Was Madam Foxx on Teabag Day? 

Karl Rove, that master mind of the 2006 and 2008 electoral repudiation of Republican policies, sez, "Politicians ignore [tea parties] at their peril."

Which raises a somewhat interesting question: Where was 5th District Representative Virginia Foxx? So many 5th District tea parties to choose from, yet she didn't show up for any of them? At least, we can't find her mentioned in any of the press coverage and after scouring local newspapers in the 5th Dist.

The Madam generally lets us know her every move on Twitter (example: "Driving home from Charlotte airport"), but other than pointing out how pious she was on Good Friday, she's been totally silent since April 9, and really eerily silent about any tea partying, and, of course, strangely absent.

She had the whole week off, too, so we know she wasn't required to be in Washington, D.C.

Keeping your distance, eh, Madam, from the wildly illogical? (It's the first time and raises all sorts of questions.)

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dear Teabaggers 

Now that you've launched your super-colossal, mega-splendiferous revolution against Socialism, we have a simple yet immediately effective way to begin ridding yourselves of all Socialistic taint:

Talk your parents and your grandparents into cutting up their Medicare cards. You should do that too, if you're old enough to have one. Ain't nuttin' but Socialism! And demand that your parents and your grandparents refuse their Social Security checks. Pack 'em up with a couple of those teabags and mail 'em back to the government. Pure Socialism is all those checks are. And if you're a university student, you really need to look deeply into the financial aid you're receiving. Most of it comes from the government, and why would you want to continue to perpetuate the evil reach of government? Why?

Otherwise, you might just look like hypocrites.


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