I posted about longtime Republican strategist Frank Luntz and the rhetorical tips he gave to GOP governors the other day (say “economic freedom” instead of “capitalism,” for instance) but until I heard Ed Schultz mocking it on his MSNBC program, it didn’t really jump out at me how incredibly offensive and insulting Luntz’s OWS talking points truly were… for Republicans!
It’s long been obvious that the GOP leadership in Washington has had a condescending attitude towards the loonier/lower IQ members of the party’s Fox News-watching base, but when you get right down to it, reading between the lines of what Luntz said, the Republican elite must hold them in utter contempt. The entire context of the remarks Frank Luntz made indicates strongly that there is an a priori assumption on the part of the GOP that their supporters fall into the category of “low information voters.” That’s breathtaking in its cynicism!
“Hey dumbshits!” they seem to be saying.“Vote for us!”
When will these people learn? Or are these tactics, once so effective, becoming too threadbare to matter much anymore?
The Bush years cannot be repudiated, but the memory of them can be discarded to make way for a new and more radical ideology, assembled from bits of the old GOP platform that were once sublimated by the party elites but now roam the land freely: ultralibertarianism, crank monetary theories, populist fury, and paranoid visions of a Democratic Party controlled by ACORN and the New Black Panthers. For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them.
In an NPR interview, Frum discusses how people who listen to talk radio or watch Fox News have a completely different set of facts than the rest of us. He’s correct there, of course… and he’s David freakin’ Frum!
I’m perplexed, but grateful for small miracles that at least there is one conservative pundit out there who can translate their brain-damaged behavior (to a certain extent) for the rest of us. And will you look at that: They seem fucking crazy to him, too!
And then there’s today’s column, also at New York, from Jonathan Chait titled “The Agony of the Moderate Republican,” where he observes that former Bush speech writer, Michael Gerson, “[w]hen confronted with a relatively straightforward description of the party’s agenda, he instinctively recoils — not at the agenda, but at the description itself.
“As president, Obama has asserted that Republicans want the elderly, autistic children and children with Down syndrome to “fend for themselves,” and that the GOP plan is “dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.” In what context would these claims be true?”
Here’s how Chait parses the question posed by Gerson and turns it right around on him.
In what context? Well, let’s see. The House Republican budget would cut Medicaid — a bare-bones health insurance program for the poor, disabled, and elderly — by $750 billion over ten years, ramping up the scale of cuts until funding has been reduced by 35 percent by 2022. When you’re slashing the funding of a program that’s far cheaper than private insurance and not replacing it with anything, you’re pretty much leaving people to fend for themselves.
As for children with Down syndrome, they’re an important part of the Medicaid program. (People with disabilities account for 42 percent of the cost of Medicaid.) Unsurprisingly, disability advocates were apoplectic about the Republican budget.
And the House Republican budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act and put in place nothing whatsoever to cover the uninsured, thereby increasing their ranks by some 32 million.
Now, Republicans can certainly contest Obama’s description. I’m sure they have arguments as to why weakening laws that have produced cleaner air and water will not actually make the air and water less clean, and why cutting or eliminating programs that provide medical care to people who can’t afford it won’t deny them medical care. But Gerson doesn’t merely consider Obama’s description to be contestable. He considers it a lie so obvious it requires no rebuttal. [Emphasis added]
That’s interesting, isn’t it? Like there’s this weird blind spot that conservatives have about their own biases that makes it awfully difficult to even talk sensibly with them anymore. I doubt Jon Huntsman would have much of a quarrel with that statement in private, what do you think?
How a party can so nakedly represent only the top 1 percent while at the same time trying to stop anything that will help the economy, and survive while doing it, is beyond me.
More from Tomasky:
Every blessed once in a great while, all artifice is stripped away, rhetoric collapses under the weight of its own absurdity, and we get to see things as they really are. Such will be the case later this week when the Senate tries to vote on extending the payroll-tax holiday. The Republicans will oppose it—that is to say, the Republicans will support a tax increase on working Americans. And why? Because the Democrats want to pay for it with a small surtax on the very top earners. So the choice couldn’t be more direct: which is more important, giving the middle class a tax cut or protecting those who make more than $1 million a year? Republicans are making it clear. This vote alone should destroy them.
The facts: The Social Security payroll tax comes to 12.4 percent of an employee’s salary—employers and employees each pay 6.2 percent. The money goes into the Social Security Trust Fund and finances benefits. At the end of last year, the Obama administration, in exchange for temporarily extending the Bush tax rates on all income levels, got Congress to agree to a one-year 2 percent payroll-tax holiday for employees, down to 4.2 percent. For a $50,000 earner, that meant paying $1,000 a year less in payroll taxes. It was agreed in that law that the holiday would cost the Social Security Trust Fund nothing—the depleted revenue would be replaced out of the general treasury. So the holiday adds to the general deficit but does not affect the trust fund.
The cut proved popular, or is presumed to be popular, so now, as many people predicted last year, Congress wants to extend it. Republicans of course say (as they say of everything) that it hasn’t done any good. But economists attest to its stimulative value. Two economists at the Economic Policy Institute say ending the holiday would reduce GDP by $128 billion and cost 972,000 jobs in 2012. The EPI is a liberal outfit, but Mark Zandi of Moody’s, who advised John McCain in 2008, agrees that raising the payroll tax back to where it was could cause another recession.
And besides those macroeconomic concerns, there is the simple question of money in people’s pockets as they try to tough out the economy. A thousand dollars to a $50,000 earner, or $1,500 to a $75,000 earner, isn’t nothing.
What the Senate Democrats want to do now is this. They want to increase the employee’s reduction from 2 percent to 3.1 percent (that is, to cut it in half from the normal 6.2 percent rate). And they now want, for the first time, to extend the holiday to employers as well. This is important, and it probably won’t be well explained in very many places. But the Democrats would have employers pay 3.1 percent (rather than the 6.2 percent they now pay) on the first $5 million of their payroll. Also, if employers add to their payrolls, they would pay no payroll tax on new hires. So the new bill is specifically aimed at helping the job creators. The total cost is $255 billion.
The Democrats want to pay for it with a 3.5 percent surtax on dollars earned over $1 million per year. In other words, if someone earns $1.3 million a year, she will pay the extra 3.5 percent only on the last $300,000 in earnings; that is, an extra $10,500 a year (bear in mind that this person takes home, after taxes, around $30,000 every two weeks). So it certainly raises the taxes of the very wealthiest. But it gives more money back to middle-class people, and it stimulates the economy, perhaps to the tune of 50,000 jobs a month, maybe even more.
How, I ask you HOW, HOW do these feckless “Marie Antoinette Republicans” think they can vote against this and still hold EVEN THE DUMBEST members of their base? How many Senate Republicans will vote for this? One? Two? None? It’s incredible to contemplate what this will do to them. I’ve always hoped to see the suicidal self-immolation of the Republican Party, but I was afraid I wouldn’t get to see it in my lifetime. At the rate these buffoons are heading for the cliff, it could happen before Christmas!
Obama should give an Oval Office speech Wednesday night and say: “If you are an employee and make less than $1 million, or if you are an employer of any size, I am trying to give you a tax cut. If you are an employee who makes more than $1 million a year, you should write and thank your Republican senator, because the Republicans are blocking me and helping you.”
“Don’t you just look good enough to eat? Nom nom nom.”
Must-read essay over at Daily Kos today from Jack Cluth, who asks a question that’s been on a lot of our minds over the past few years: “What happens when an entire political party embraces the Dark Side?”
By the definition of today’s GOP, compassion is synonymous with weakness as charity is with enabling sloth and indolence. If you’re unable to do for yourself, whatever your situation might be, you have no right to expect government to do for you. Ill? Disabled? Uninsured? Unemployed? That’s too bad, but it’s not the responsibility of government to do for those unable to do for themselves.
It’s as if Republicans have decamped from anything resembling compassion and migrated en masse to the Dark Side. They’ve rejected anything that smacks of humanity and embraced a Darwinian view of America as a place where the strong rightfully survive and the weak get what they deserve. I don’t know about you, but this philosophy has nothing to do with the traditional Conservatism that Republicans profess to revere. Traditional Conservatism doesn’t reject the social contract. It doesn’t genuflect to the oligarchy and the military-industrial complex. It doesn’t traffic in fear, hatred, and loathing. It doesn’t reject science. It doesn’t embrace fundamentalist Christianity as the ultimate and only authority on what America should be.
Then again, this isn’t about Conservatism. It’s about doing whatever it takes to acquire, maintain, and increase power and control. It’s about enforcing Social Darwinism and Fundamentalist Christianity as the basis of the American experience and the law of the land. It’s about using fear, hatred, and propaganda in order to manipulate the American Sheeple into doing your bidding.
The guy nails it. Read more of The GOP: The party of pain, punishment, misery, and death (Daily Kos) and check out this amazing, snarling anti-GOP rant courtesy of Chris Matthews: “Does the GOP enjoy the misery of others?” Matthews makes a pretty clear argument that indeed they do…
She says what she means and means what she says. She’s also got a snowball’s chance in Hell of making it to the White House and everyone—EVERYONE—except for her knows it.
Still, that’s not going to stop quixotic crazypants Rep. Michele Bachmann from making sure that none of the other Republican candidates get there, either!
She really kicks her opponents in the nuts here. The DNC ought to chip in so she can run more of this one. Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman should pony up, too!
Bachmann is burning quite a few bridges with this video and stands to gain almost nothing from it. I laughed out loud at the audaciousness of this move. From her point of view, she’s entirely correct, of course, that she’s the most consistent conservative candidate—albeit the most batshit crazy in a field full of some real lulu’s—running. The problem is that she’s contrasting her own completely insane positions as the opposite of these goofballs, blow-hards and idiots at their most reasonable!
In an inspiring Op Ed piece in today’s New York Times, Columbia University’s Jeffrey D. Sachs takes but a few paragraphs to thoroughly demolish the dominant ur-myths of the past three decades of Republican politics, and to illustrate how the New Progressive Era is already upon us.
Occupy Wall Street and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.
Thirty years ago, a newly elected Ronald Reagan made a fateful judgment: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Taxes for the rich were slashed, as were outlays on public services and investments as a share of national income. Only the military and a few big transfer programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits were exempted from the squeeze.
Reagan’s was a fateful misdiagnosis. He completely overlooked the real issue — the rise of global competition in the information age — and fought a bogeyman, the government. Decades on, America pays the price of that misdiagnosis, with a nation singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges of our time.
Washington still channels Reaganomics. The federal budget for nonsecurity discretionary outlays — categories like highways and rail, education, job training, research and development, the judiciary, NASA, environmental protection, energy, the I.R.S. and more — was cut from more than 5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the 1970s to around half of that today. With the budget caps enacted in the August agreement, domestic discretionary spending would decline to less than 2 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the decade, according to the White House. Government would die by fiscal asphyxiation.
Both parties have joined in crippling the government in response to the demands of their wealthy campaign contributors, who above all else insist on keeping low tax rates on capital gains, top incomes, estates and corporate profits. Corporate taxes as a share of national income are at the lowest levels in recent history. Rich households take home the greatest share of income since the Great Depression. Twice before in American history, powerful corporate interests dominated Washington and brought America to a state of unacceptable inequality, instability and corruption. Both times a social and political movement arose to restore democracy and shared prosperity.
Sachs goes on to state what already seems self-evident to many of us:
This is just the beginning.
The young people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have started America on a path to renewal. The movement, still in its first days, will have to expand in several strategic ways. Activists are needed among shareholders, consumers and students to hold corporations and politicians to account. Shareholders, for example, should pressure companies to get out of politics. Consumers should take their money and purchasing power away from companies that confuse business and political power. The whole range of other actions — shareholder and consumer activism, policy formulation, and running of candidates — will not happen in the park.
You won’t be smiling for long, ruling class son of a peeg dog!
While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was tied up over at the Capitol Building, where Republicans blocked a $60 billion infrastructure bill today that would have created thousands of jobs, approximately thirty out-of-work protesters staged a sit-in at McConnell’s Senate office.
The protesters, who were organized by a group called OurDC, took every chair and much of the floor-space of the GOP leader’s Russell Building office as McConnell’s aides went about their work. The group claimed no affiliation with Occupy Wall Street.
As of 3 p.m EST, the protesters are still there and said they wouldn’t leave before they got a face-to-face meeting to discuss jobs with the turkey-necked obstructionist Republican Senator from Kentucky.
Nicely done. Keep the heat on these Republican motherfuckers. It’s fantastic to watch these guys squirm. Why make it easy on them?
A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has announced that on Friday the VA Congressman will lay out Republican plans to help business owners and “how we make sure the people at the top stay there.” Odd choice of words considering the national mood, don’t you think? One can be forgiven for wondering if the Republican leadership has progressed from merely being politically “tone deaf” to a more willful and sinister “la la la la la, I can’t hear you, I’ve got my fingers in my ears” withdrawal from consensus reality.
To call Rep. Eric Cantor a stooge at this point is to insult all three Howard brothers, and the late Mr. Fine, as well.
Ever since the spittle-drenched results of the 2010 midterms swept him into being the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Cantor has demonstrated a remarkable ability to combine complete ignorance of practically every major issue with the unctuous personality of a third-string maitre d’ at a fourth-string steakhouse. A couple of weeks ago, confronting the various Scribes and Sadducees that make up the “Values” wing of his party, Cantor was calling the Occupy Wall Street protesters a “mob,” and warning the timorous and pharisaical suckers that the tumbrels would be arriving on their streets any day now. Lo and behold, the country seems now to disagree with him, and, on Fox News Sunday, Cantor announced his earthshaking discovery that the United States has a problem with income inequality, and that his Republican party is poised to do something about that. Of course, every single proposal to emerge from his caucus would work to use the tax code to cement that inequality from now until Eric Cantor VIII is flunking economics somewhere.
True, Cantor’s argument is that the Republican plan would allow all the poor people in America to rise to become the owners of their own hedge funds, and is utterly insincere, where it is not complete bullshit. But the fact that the words “income disparity” were spoken by a member of the congressional Republican leadership, in public and without his tongue turning to fire, is proof that the elite pundits are right. The OWS crowd never will affect the country’s politics until it develops a “coherent public message.” Pity.
The other day at the Farmer’s Market here in Los Angeles, an acquaintance of mine, a British ex-pat best described as a “salty old sea dog-type” but who is, in fact, a financially well-off Hollywood screenwriter with bad dental-work and a penchant for his apéritifs to be served before, during and after his meals, told me of his violent fantasy of kidnapping Eric Cantor, tying him face down naked and then shoving a loaded double-barreled shotgun up his ass (This tirade was prompted by the sight of Cantor on one of the news channels). This would all be streamed live on the Internet as Cantor would be forced to atone for his sins and confess to being a traitor to his countrymen for selling them out to the 1%.
“Don’t get me wrong,’ I told him. “I loathe Eric Cantor myself, he’s a fucking idiot and I absolutely hate him, but when you add in the element of sexual humiliation, it makes me kinda wonder about you and your dark, Deliverance fantasies…”
“Oh no, maybe I didn’t explain: This isn’t my fantasy or anything, this is from a new screenplay I’m working on. It’s like the Saw movies, you know, torture porn, except that the bad guy is going around seeking revenge on politicians who sold out the country and fucked everyone over. I thought the ultimate anti-hero for right now would be a guy who’s been ruined, he’s lost his business or or house or marriage, whatever, and now he’s a vigilante. I saw Cantor on TV calling the Occupy Wall Street protesters a “mob” and it struck me how cathartic it would be for the audience to see someone like him to be humiliated in a movie. People would love to see that happen onscreen! I’m not fantasizing about this, I’m writing it!”
The demented genius of this notion is both laugh-out-loud funny and “Why didn’t I think of that first?” depwessing isn’t it?
The reason why my screenwriter friend here is so successful, while I am not, struck me like Thor’s mallet…
“What happens to the character based on Eric Cantor?” I asked, by now morbidly curious.
“The bad guy pulls the trigger. The bullet goes in the Cantor character’s anus and comes out through his mouth. Millions of people see this live on the Internet. I’m hoping that bit gets done in 3-D!”
I made a mental note to quickly finish my for spec script for The Human Centipede III (with characters based on Congressman Paul Ryan, WI Gov. Scott Walker and Fox News personality Eric Bolling) as I stood up to bid him farewell.
“Well, it sure seems like you’ll have an easy time selling that idea. It’s certainly ‘of its time,’ your script. Good luck with it.”
“Are you kidding me?” he laughed. “I sold this puppy the next day!”
The results of the recall elections of the WI state reps might have been mixed, but that was then and this is now. Just a few months later, the political headwinds have shifted suddenly. I don’t think things look too promising for the continuing political career of Scott Walker. It’s time to make it hot for this bastard.
Organizers in Wisconsin will have 60 days to collect 540,208 signatures as they announce plans to kick off an effort to recall Governor Scott Walker, the man whose extreme levels of union-busting intransigence led to hundres of thousands of protesters descending on the capital, in a standoff that riveted the nation and led to a resurgence of pro-labor activism. One group, United Wisconsin already has over 200,000 promised recall signatures through its organizing efforts.
On the Ed Show last night, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate explained why, after deliberation, the party along with groups of activists forged during the protests had decided to go forward with this action, feeling that they couldn’t wait any longer to try to recall Walker. Video of their conversation is embedded below.
If the drive is successful, elections could potentially be held in Spring 2012. Find out official information here. (It’s a testament to the popularity behind the recall that there are quite a few unofficial recall Walker sites flooding the web already!)
Increasingly irrelevant Republican presidential candidate/human punchline Michele Bachmann just can’t get a break. Nor does she deserve one. A trip to California over the weekend saw the bigoted Christianist Congresswoman from Minnesota’s 6th congressional district the target of a flash mob who danced to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” to protest her (more or less) “pro-bullying” stance (it’s what Jesus would want) and anti-LGBT words, deeds and activities as a private citizen, as a state legislator, and as a member of the US Congress since 2007.
Even Jay Leno piled on when she appeared on the Tonight Show and good for him. This woman and her kind need to be rebuked in no uncertain terms by right-thinking people in this country.
Even in normally ultra-conservative Orange County, Bachmann got the business. I guess the new OC is quite a bit different that the old OC. From The Minnesota Independent:
“That’s not a federal issue,” she said, dodging the question.
Nice try! It’s an AMERICAN and HUMAN ISSUE, Bachmann, and your public words and deeds are coming back to haunt you and will continue to haunt you every time you step out of your comfort zone. Few people in this nation, in your state or in your own DISTRICT have PERSONALLY done more to make the lives of LGBT teens worse than YOU have.
Two days earlier, Tammy Aaberg, a mother in the district who lost her son to suicide in 2010, presented Bachmann’s district office with a petition signed by more than 100,000 people asking her to take a stand on bullying in schools. Her office said Bachmann might eventually respond to the petition.
Might respond? Might? (And there were 145,000 signatures, btw, I think that many people deserve a response, don’t you?)
Michele Bachmann deserves no respect, she doesn’t even deserve politeness. She deserves ridicule. And worse.
Bachmann calls herself a Christian. If there is a God—I’ll up the ante here, make this a CHRISTIAN version of God—which of these two mothers would that God smile upon? Tammy Aaberg. the woman whose son killed himself—because of a climate of “Christian” intolerance in the local school district that was brewed up by the likes of Bachmann and her cronies like the Minnesota Family Council and dogshit dumb “preacher” of idiocy Bradlee Dean—who decided to STICK UP for other vulnerable children or one of the prime reasons for this climate of hate existing in the district, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann?
Why does Michele Bachmann believe that she and Jesus are playing on the same team? It boggles the mind…
Primer: Deep roots of Anoka-Hennepin’s discrimination controversy (Minnesota Independent)
Last night on the GOP Tea party debate on CNN, the assembled crowd of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Neanderthalsfucking assholes dumb old white people cheered like braying assholes asses at the notion that someone uninsured should be left to die.
Here’s just one idiotic comment left on YouTube by a moron using the handle “nicpag9”:
Whoever posted this video needs to off themselves. People like you are what is wrong with this country and the reason it’s in the shape it is in now. No doubt you’ll be voting for Obama again. Too bad we can’t divide the country up into the idiot section run by Communists such as your self and the rest that just want to be left the hell alone for everyone with a damn brain. I’m sure the founding fathers would have no problem with that whatsoever.
No, my fren’ this country is in the state it is because of people like you… too damned dumb to understand the world around them.