Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tailgunner Ted Will Yap Until He Can Yap No More

Charles P. Pierce

I wasn't ready, but the 2016 Iowa caucus campaign kicked off this afternoon when Tailgunner Ted Cruz announced that he would bop-til-he-dropped before he'd let the Affordable Care Act get funded. This was preceded by some lovely soprano trilling by newly minted eunuch, Mitch McConnell. As has been pointed out, this is something of a mock filibuster, but that's because it isn't an attempt to do serious legislative business. It's an extended campaign commercial, B-Roll for the local stations in Ottumwa and Council Bluffs.

We have been joined at the moment by konztitooshinul skolar Mike Lee of Utah, who just talked about "the devastating impact of inflation," of which there is, at the moment, none. "Whenever government acts," Lee just mentioned, "it does so at the expense of our own individual liberty."

Cruz is back. "The founding of our nation embodied many revolutions." He also referred to the Founders as "we."

He'd look stupid in a wig.
Looks pretty stoopid even without one.

This is like taking a history class from Abbott and Costello.

At least they were funny and didn't obstruct the progress of the nation.

How Bad Is the GOP Rift? Worse Than Democrats in the 1980s

Good. Stu Rothenberg

Political parties seem to suffer through internal battles periodically, but the current state of the GOP is much worse than what Democrats went through some 25 years ago, when organized labor and old-style liberals fought against the Democratic Leadership Council for the soul of the party.

I still remember going to post-election events during the 1980s and watching Al From, then president of the DLC, blame his party’s presidential defeats on liberals and organized labor, only to have someone from the party’s liberal wing whale on From or Will Marshall, the DLC’s first policy director, as Republicans impersonating Democrats.
Pretty much.

Now, libertarian and tea party elements of the GOP are in open warfare with pragmatists and institutionalists. Republicans in the House and Senate taunt each other on a daily basis in newspapers or on cable television, which is only too happy to provide a platform.
More platform! More platform!

But while the GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential contests, the races have been close enough that party ideologues have ready excuses – bad candidates, a long war in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unfair media, etc. As a result, they have not yet confronted their political problems the way Democrats did, particularly after Michael Dukakis’ defeat in 1988.

But Republican control of the House, which could well extend at least through the rest of the decade, particularly if another Democrat wins the White House in 2016, should not obscure what is happening. Party infighting and the weakening of the party’s pragmatic impulses will continue to erode support for the party until the obvious happens.

“The only remedy for a party that is deluding itself is a major defeat,” (my em) says Marshall, thinking back to the 1980s.

That is already making 2016 look like a potentially dangerous election for the GOP.
Let's have a "dangerous election for the GOP" in 2014 and get the House back two years before we get President Hil.

Repugs were WHAT?!

For Jay in NC. Eerily apropos, I think, given his comment on the second post below this one. :-)

It's crazy-makin' ta think the Repugs were once the liberals! Of course, then came civil rights and letting The Other (than white men) vote and the Southern Strategy and on and on...

Cruz Does Not Understand Green Eggs and Ham


Among the more bizarre moments of Senator Cruz's fake filibuster tonight was his reading of the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham from the floor of the U.S. Senate....

This is an odd choice of a book for Senator Cruz to read in that its message actually supports the position of the Democrats that the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) should be allowed to go into effect as scheduled.

In the story Green Eggs and Ham, the narrator starts by telling the reader how he does not like Green Eggs and Ham under any circumstance. A lot of the book contains lists of circumstances under which the narrator would not eat Green Eggs and Ham.
Some of the lists of circumstances are there if you feel the need.

Then the narrator, after much urging by Sam-I-Am, eats the green eggs and ham to prove Sam-I-Am wrong. However, much to the narrator's surprise, he actually likes Green Eggs and Ham.

The narrator then goes on to actually thank Sam-I-Am for encouraging him to try the Green Eggs and Ham.
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

Senator Cruz-Obamacare is like Green Eggs and Ham. Like the narrator in the story, some people have come to the conclusion (after hearing a lot of right wing propaganda) that they won't like Obamacare even though they have never tried it. A lot of their opposition is based on their fear of trying something different from what they are used to. However, like the narrator in the story, once the American people try Obamacare, I think that they will like it. And like the narrator in the story who thanks Sam-I-Am for forcing him to try the green eggs and ham, I think that the American People will ultimately thank President Obama and the Democrats for Obamacare.
So do I.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Meep Meep Watch

The title will be instantly explained when you go see Andy Sullivan's post.

David Corn echoes a lot of what I’ve been arguing about Obama’s trajectory at this point in his second term. Politico-style pageview-grabbers keep talking about a “lame duck” while the GOP keeps talking as if Obamacare, which only truly gets going next month, is already fatally wounded. McCainiacs talk as if getting Putin to take ownership of preventing further use of chemical weapons in Syria is some kind of defeat for the US – which it is only if you truly want another Middle East War. And in Washington, Obama’s solid refusal to jump into negotiations over the defunding of Obamacare or the debt-ceiling has allowed the Republicans to organize themselves into a Dick Cheney hunting expedition. After Syria, moreover, there is the first real chance of a deal with Iran over its nuclear program along the lines of Assad’s sudden volte-face. The long term strategy of sanctions and an open hand is bearing fruit.

None of this will please Maureen Dowd. And yes, of course, much can still go awry. Politics requires nimbleness of action and steadiness in strategy. But when I watch Karl Rove laying into Congressional Republicans, and Bill Kristol, in panic-mode, calling for Israel to strike Iran, I can’t help but smile. This terrible strategic president, this useless schmoozer, this aloof, Washington inadequate has a lot of foes back on their heels right now.

That doesn’t happen entirely by accident.
Say what you will, Obama is showing himself to be the Stealth Ninja Jedi Prez I've been calling him for years now. He plays the long game and is flexible. Not perfect by any means, but no one is and I'm still down wid him.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It’s Hard to Hate Rand Paul

So says Daddy Frank in his latest monthly article. I'm most certainly no fan of Paul except for the blessed damage he is doing to the Repugs. An interesting read.

Though he has been at or near the top of near-meaningless early primary polling, he is nonetheless a long shot to ascend to the top of the GOP ticket, let alone to the White House. And a good thing too: A Paul presidency would be a misfortune for the majority of Americans who would be devastated by his regime of minimalist government. But as we begin to imagine a post-Obama national politics where the Democratic presidential front-runners may be of Social Security age and the Republicans lack a presumptive leader or a coherent path forward, he can hardly be dismissed. Nature abhors a vacuum, and Paul doesn’t hide his ambitions to fill it. In his own party, he’s the one who is stirring the drink, having managed in his very short political career (all of three years) to have gained stature in spite of (or perhaps because of) his ability to enrage and usurp such GOP heavyweights as John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Chris Christie. He is one of only two putative ­presidential contenders in either party still capable of doing something you don’t expect or saying something that hasn’t been freeze-dried into anodyne Frank Luntz–style drivel by strategists and focus groups. The other contender in the spontaneous-authentic political sweepstakes is Christie, but like an actor who’s read too many of his rave reviews, he’s already turning his bully-in-a-china-shop routine into Jersey shtick. (So much so that if he modulates it now, he’ll come across as a phony.) Paul doesn’t do shtick, he rarely engages in sound bites or sloganeering, and his language has not been balled up by a stint in law school or an M.B.A. program. (He’s an ophthalmologist.) He speaks as if he were thinking aloud and has a way of making his most radical notions sound plausible in the moment. It doesn’t hurt that some of what he says also makes sense.
The hell it doesn't! Heh. But then again, I agree with Pat Buchanan sometimes too. It's disturbing, until I realize that even a blind pig can find an acorn once in a while.

But not everyone on the right believed Christie had thrown a knockout punch at the infidel within the GOP. Writing in Commentary, Jonathan Tobin noted that other conservatives had been echoing Paul’s condemnation of the “national security state” and accused as unlikely a subversive as Peggy Noonan of defecting to the “old line of the hard left.” Even the ultimate GOP tool, the party chairman Reince Priebus, had praised Paul’s filibuster as “completely awesome.” Tobin worried that a “crack up” of the “generations-old Republican consensus on foreign and defense policy” would be at hand if others didn’t follow Christie’s brave example and stand up to Paul and his cohort before “they hijack a party.”

The truth is that that consensus cracked up long ago—done in by the Bush administration and the amen chorus, typified by McCain, Kristol, and Krauthammer, that led the country into the ditch of Iraq. As Reason, the Paul-sympathizing libertarian magazine, pointed out approvingly, Paul’s filibuster “could have been aimed 100 percent at George W. Bush and the policies the Republican party and the conservative movement have urged for most of the 21st century.” And he had gotten away with it despite the protestations of the old conservative guard. Christie may think he can rewrite or reverse this history by attacking Paul, but he’s in denial. Bellicose exhortations consisting of a noun and a verb and 9/11 reached their political expiration date with the imploded Giuliani campaign of 2008.

None of this means that Paul has any serious chance of appealing to centrist and liberal Democrats in significant numbers in a national campaign. He labors under most of the same handicaps as the rest of his party. He has no credible commitment to serious immigration reform. He is an absolutist on guns and abortion. He is opposed to gay marriage (though trying, like many Republicans these days, to keep the issue on the down-low). In a speech at the Reagan Library this year, he acknowledged that the Republican Party will not win again until it “looks like the rest of America,” but his own outreach efforts have been scarcely better than the GOP’s as a whole. His game appearance at the historically black Howard University backfired when he tried to pretend that he had never “wavered” in his support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 even though his recent wavering was a matter of public record, captured on video.

While Paul has tried to stay clear of the loony white Christian-identity extremists who gravitated to his father, he had to sacrifice an aide who was recently unmasked as a onetime radio shock jock prone to neo-Confederate radio rants under the nom de bigot “Southern Avenger.” What was most interesting about the incident, however, was the response of another cardinal of the waning GOP Establishment, the George W. Bush speechwriter turned Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, who argued that Paul’s harboring of the Southern Avenger illustrates why it is “impossible for Rand Paul to join the Republican mainstream.” By that standard, the party would also have to drum out Rick Perry, who floated the fantasy of Texas’s seceding from the union, along with all the other GOP elected officials nationwide who are emulating Perry’s push for voter-suppression legislation in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s vitiation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That Gerson would hypocritically single out Paul for banishment in a party harboring so many southern avengers is an indication of just how panicked the old GOP gatekeepers are by his success. They will grab anything they can find to bring him down.

He is a godsend for the tea party—the presentable leader the movement kept trying to find during the 2012 Republican freak show but never did. Next to Paul, that parade of hotheads, with their overweening Obama hatred and their dog whistles to racists, nativists, and homophobes, looks like a relic from a passing era. For that matter, he may prove equally capable of making the two top Democratic presidential prospects for 2016, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, look like a nostalgia act.
Biden maybe, but speaking as a guy who's going to turn 68 in a coupla days, Hil's a babe!

Read it or don't, your call, but it's an interesting article.


Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Sixteen States Introduce Rules Restricting Access to Advice About Obamacare
Explain “what they don't know won't hurt them.”

Microscopic Images Reveal Planthopper Insects Have Gears
Hailed as Steampunk Animal of the Year.

$800 Million Salvage Effort Rights Cruise Ship Costa Concordia
In time for passengers to board for 3-day cruise to Sardinia.

“Hello Kitty” Beer Debuts in Asia
Each can bears warning for 6-year-old girls to drink responsibly.