Category Archives: right wing
The GOP’s Purity Pledge
Sixteen years after the Contract With America comes its bastard child—the Pledge to America, an attempt by the party establishment to rein in the Tea Party and reassure us the elders are still in charge.
The Republican Party is at it again, nicking its own thumb with a keen pen-knife and offering up a Boy Scout promise to be good—improbably, paradigmatically good.
Sixteen years ago, we got a Contract With America, legalistic window-dressing for a promise to take ideological positions that were at bellicose odds with the first Clinton administration. It was, to be sure, an invigorating promise, but the execution of the promise was an unforgettable, obstructive disaster: The GOP, which became the Gingrich Obstructionist Party, was hoist with its own pseudo-contractual petard. Not to “shut down” government would have been in breach of contract, so they shut government down, and paid a price from which the party has not fully recovered.
This is a pledge designed to reassure us that we are back to Republican business as usual, to reassure us that the Republican Party elders are still in charge, even as Tea Party philistines clamor angrily at the hedgerow.
Now, 16 years later, we have the bastard child of that Contract With America, dubbed, with a timorous desire to soften any unpleasantness of echo from 1994, the Pledge to America. From a Republican perspective, the blousy new name is a bad idea strategically, and rhetorically: It encourages one to ask why the Republican Party has fought shy of reprising the Contract theme. Are they embarrassed by their Gingrichist past? Are they eager to keep in purdah the calamitously degenerated former House speaker, now a mere (and unsavory) shadow of the revolutionary he was in his heyday 16 years ago? Are they afraid to revive echoes from their last, full-frontal, but ultimately backfiring, assault on a wobbly first-term president?
More broadly, one has to wonder whether this whole Pledge business is an attempt by the Republican Party establishment to impose hasty order on its rightward, Tea Party flank, which has threatened to pull the GOP into uncharted populist territory—territory that many independents might find daunting, and off-putting. By setting up a Pledge—a checklist, in effect, of what is or isn’t Republican—the GOP must hope to quiet the discontent among those who bucked the party line and voted (in the primaries) for the likes of Christine O’Donnell. The party is saying to its purists, in effect, that it has a Purity Test.
Much more amusing, for sure, and possibly quite deadly, would have been a Republican campaign that accused the Democrats of taking out a Contract on America, designed to kill off the country’s entrepreneurial spirit domestically, not to mention any sense of American exceptionalism abroad. Maybe that will come once the Pledge has been unveiled.
But the GOP is profoundly spooked by the ascent of the Tea Party and wants to ensure that no one will ever mistake Republicans for a rabble unfit to govern. So the party has decreed that it’s time for a message that has been approved… by the party—by John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, et al.—a manifesto that bears a Republican National Committee imprimatur.
This is a pledge designed to reassure us that we are back to Republican business as usual, to reassure us that the Republican Party elders are still in charge, even as Tea Party philistines clamor angrily at the hedgerow. The rebels, we are now assured, have been domesticated by institutional reason and good sense. The Tea Party wanted a Declaration of War. What it has got is a Pledge. The natural order has reasserted itself.
Tunku Varadarajan is a national affairs correspondent and writer at large for The Daily Beast. He is also the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School. He is a former assistant managing editor at The Wall Street Journal. (Follow him on Twitter here.)
Dana Milbank writes for the Washington Post and I enjoy his work.
So now you can too.
Civil rights’ new ‘owner’: Glenn Beck
by: Dana Milbank
Sunday, August 29, 2010
There is a telling anecdote in Glenn Beck’s 2003 memoir about how the cable news host was influenced by the great fantasist Orson Welles. To travel between performances in Manhattan, Beck recounts, Welles hired an ambulance, sirens blaring, to ferry him around town — not because Welles was ill but because he wanted to avoid traffic.
Most of us would regard this as dishonest, a ploy by the self-confessed charlatan that Welles was. Beck saw it as a model to be emulated. “Welles,” he writes, “inspired me to believe that I can create anything that I can see or imagine.”
I was reminded of Beck’s affection for deception as he hyped his march on Washington — an event scheduled for the same date (Aug. 28) and on the same spot (the Lincoln Memorial) as Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic march 47 years ago. Beck claimed it was pure coincidence, but then he made every effort to appropriate the mantle of the great civil rights leader.
Beck as the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream? And you thought “War of the Worlds” was frightening.
It’s been just over a year since Beck famously called the first African American president a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” And now, accused of racial pot-stirring, he apparently has determined that the best defense is to be patently offensive.
“Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King,” he tells us, any more than whites own Lincoln or Washington. “The left” doesn’t own King, either, he says.
No, Beck owns King. “This is the moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement,” he said this spring. “We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and, damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement because we are the people that did it in the first place.”
We are? Let’s review Beck’s history as a civil rights pioneer, a history I’ve studied while writing a book about Beck.
When Beck was a radio host in Connecticut in the 1990s, his station apologized for an on-air skit in which Beck and his partner mocked an Asian American caller and used their version of an Asian accent. As a CNN host a couple of years ago, Beck interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, and challenged him to “prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”
President Obama, who Beck says was elected because he isn’t white, is “moving all of us quickly in slavery,” Beck has asserted. On his radio show, he declared that “you don’t take the name Barack to identify with America. . . . You take the name Barack to identify with . . . the heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical.” He accused Obama of seeking “reparations” from white America, seeking to “settle old racial scores.”
Beck has spoken on air about “radical black nationalism” in the White House and “Marxist black liberation theology” influencing Obama. He has further determined that the New Black Panthers have “ties to the White House in a myriad of ways” and are part of Obama’s “army of thugs.”
This is not quite the ideal background for a man who would claim to be King’s heir — and that’s where Orson Welles comes in.
Second, he invoked some selective history, using his Fox News show to deliver a three-part series updating the history of the civil rights movement. “How has the Democratic Party assumed the mantle of defender of minorities, if you know their early history?” he asked. “Dating to Andrew Jackson — this is the 17th century . . . .”
Seventeenth century, 19th century, whatever. He informed viewers that “it was the GOP that took the lead on the civil rights” cause.
Finally, Beck updated the meaning of the civil rights movement so that it is no longer about black people; it is about protecting anti-tax conservatives from liberals. Civil rights leaders, he said, “purposely distorted Martin Luther King’s ideas.” Over the past century, Beck reasons, “no man has been free, because we’ve been progressive.” To his followers, he says: “We are the people of the civil rights movement.”
All that is left is for Beck to drive around town by ambulance.
Dana Milbank’s book, “Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America,” will be published Oct. 5.
HERE IS A LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE
PANAMA CITY — A Congressional candidate told local high school and middle school students Tuesday that Islam’s plan is to destroy the American way of life.
“I’m totally against it. If I had my way, it would pretty much be over my dead body,” said Ron McNeil, a candidate for the U.S. House District 2 seat, who was referring to a controversial plan to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. “That religion is against everything America stands for. If we have to let them build it, make them build it nine stories underground, so we can walk above it as citizens and Christians.”
Some people in the audience applauded McNeil’s response. However, one student appeared up-set and asked McNeil what gave him or the federal government the right to tell an American that they can’t build an institution.
“This religion’s plan is to destroy our way of life,” McNeil said.
The student responded by saying he did not feel it was a Christian’s place to determine whether Islam is right or wrong.
“It’s our place as Christians to stand up for the word of God and what the Bible says,” McNeil replied.
Dianne Berryhill, an independent candidate for the Congressional seat now held by Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, also weighed in on the proposed mosque.
“If we were under Muslim law, you girls wouldn’t be sitting here showing any kind of skin. You would be in hot burqas and … you wouldn’t be sitting in school,” she said.
No other candidate weighed in on the controversy during the debate.
The comments came during a forum at North Bay Haven Charter Academy hosted by WJHG News Channel 7. The debate was organized with the help of Tim Kitts, the chief education officer for Bay Haven Schools, but students in all the local high schools, with the exception of New-point Bay, asked the questions.
“The whole idea is that we want children to become informed, knowledgeable citizens,” Kitts said. “They should first know what they believe and why they believe it, and then they can cast their vote.”
Among the other candidates at the forum were Pat Sabiston and Joe Wayne Walker, who are in the running for the School Board District 1 seat, and the three candidates, Jim Barr, Steve Moss and Donna Allen, running for the District 5 school board seat.
Sabiston, who currently holds the District 1 seat, discussed a national model for in-school suspension as a way to discipline students in school and a change in the procedure for purchase orders to save money. Walker expressed the importance of giving children opportunities, even if they don’t want to go to college.
Allen, a longtime school board member, said she found it imperative that school board members be accessible to students and visit schools. Barr, like Allen, finds accountability to students important. Moss addressed the importance of proper nutrition in school lunches, explaining that food has an effect on energy levels, so nutritional food potentially could lead to higher test scores.
In the District 2 Congressional race, McNeil is running against Steve Southerland and David Scholl in the Republican primary. Eddie Hendry and Barbara F. Olschner, both of whom also are running for the District 2 GOP nomination, did not attend. Paul McKain, an independent candidate, and Democrats Boyd and state Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, are also in the running. Boyd and Lawson did not attend. Berryhill is running as an independent.
The Congressional candidates in attendance Tuesday all said they were conservative constitutionalists, and each talked about the importance of self-reliance.
“We can’t depend on the government, but we can depend on ourselves,” Scholl said.
The last candidates to debate were four of the five candidates for the District 4 county commissioner seat: Guy Tunnell, Bill Busch, Dan Estes and Derrell Day. Cathy McClellan did not at-tend.
The candidates discussed their plans to improve tourism and the economy. Several of the candidates said the free market would be the best system to make these improvements, and the government should not get in the way. The topic of legalized gambling in Florida and the possibility of building a casino in the area came up. Although a casino could raise much-needed tax revenue, Day said caution must be taken.
“I’m not really interested in new ways to spend money,” Day said. “Every time we get a lot of tax revenue, we tend to waste it, so we have to be very careful.”
Estes said the ideal thing to do with the extra tax revenue is start paying off debt.
After the debate, Lewis and Kitts talked about the quality of the questions.
“What I got from the candidates is that they have not had questions that have been this thought out,” Kitts said.
One student, who posed several questions, commented on the candidate’s performance.
“A few of the candidates beat around the bush,” said Stuart Hilton, a student at Mosley High School. “For the general questions, like regarding property taxes, they did answer the question. That’s politicians for you.”
The primary election is Aug. 24, although early voting already is under way.
See, I’ve discovered, through the course of just asking around, that many folks don’t realize that they’re taxed at different levels. Many think that if they make over a certain amount of money, all of their money is taxed at that rate. That’s why you heard all that talk about taxes being a disincentive to making more money, which is obviously nuts and was meant to confuse the average taxpayer who doesn’t understand how our system works.
In any event, the graph via Wash Post…
And a little more about where this came from:
A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year — and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation’s millionaires, according to a congressional analysis released Wednesday.New data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation show that households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31 billion in tax breaks under the GOP plan in 2011, for an average tax cut per household of about $100,000.
Does everybody now understand how big of a giveaway this is to the wealthiest 2%?
Were the rich hurting in the 90s when the tax rate was 39.6%?
Can we all agree that people making between $200 and $500K can take a $400 hit?
And to those who make over $500K, well, you still don’t have to pay Social Security tax on hardly ANY of your income. And since many of the super rich derive their income from investments, which is taxed at 15% since it’s considered long term capital gains, you’re still gaming the system effectively.
Yes, rich people…you’re still rich and you still win.
Meanwhile, teachers, firefighters and cops don’t deserve to keep their jobs according to Republicans, but they want to give $10 billion more to people who are so wealthy that few of us will ever understand what it is to be in that company?
With the official formation of a congressional Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann has thrust an existential question before House Republican leaders: Are you in or are you out?
Indiana’s Mike Pence, chairman of the Republican Conference, was adamant. “You betcha,” he said, deploying a Minnesota catch phrase.
But Minority Leader John Boehner won’t have his name on the caucus list.
And Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor and his chief deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California — known as “Young Guns” for the GOP — are undecided.
Minnesota’s Bachmann, a favorite of the tea party movement, earned approval from the Democratic leadership for her caucus late last week. It came as a bit of a surprise to her leadership, whom she didn’t forewarn before formally applying to create the caucus.
“It was something we were doing on our own,” Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said. “Ultimately, we just pulled the trigger.”
Indeed, the tea party movement is a loaded political weapon for Republicans heading into the midterm elections.
Until now, they have had the luxury of enjoying the benefits of tea party enthusiasm without having to actually declare membership. But now that Bachmann has brought the tea party inside the Capitol, House Republican leaders and rank-and-file members may have to choose whether to join the institutionalized movement.
It’s easy to see why some Republicans may be hesitant, even as the tea party, itself, fights over the sentiments expressed by the movement’s most extreme elements.
The Tea Party Federation expelled its most prominent faction, the Tea Party Express, after a spokesman wrote a racially charged letter framed as a satirical jab at Ben Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Tea Party Express fired back, with a spokesman calling the decision “arrogant and preposterous.”
“If there are some tendencies in the outside movement that you don’t want to be associated with, this could be a risky step,” said Celia Carroll, a political science professor at Hampden-Sydney College who has done academic research on congressional caucuses.
Joining caucuses is somewhat of a ritual in the House, where niche groups like the Sportsmen’s Caucus or the Armenian Caucus are supposed to give lawmakers a chance to build their political identity and promote their own ideas and those of allies outside Congress. The Senate is less relevant in the caucus debate: There is only one officially recognized caucus, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
“I think caucuses represent an opportunity for members to get together and to share ideas, and my hope is that this Tea Party Caucus would do the same and also would be an avenue for bringing some of the energy and enthusiasm and the focus that I’ve seen from the national march on Washington, where I spoke on 9/12, [and] traveling around Indiana and a little around the country, deeper into the well of Congress,” Pence said.
Pence is widely viewed as a potential candidate for statewide, or perhaps national office, and he has built on his connection to the movement, which could be politically beneficial in the future.
But the question is not as clear-cut for other Republican leaders.
Cantor’s office declined to entertain a question about whether the No. 2 GOP House member would join the Tea Party Caucus. A spokesman said he was on a plane nearly all day and could not be reached.
The uncertainty in the House GOP leadership underscores the risk — and reward — of identifying with a movement that electrifies the conservative base, yet may turn off moderate Republicans and political independents with controversial slogans and billboards perceived by many to be racist or insensitive to religious minorities.
Republican leaders certainly have been capitalizing on tea party anger at a Democratic-controlled establishment, watching with glee as Democratic health care town halls were disrupted by tea party demonstrators last fall. In fact, Boehner led the charge of Republican lawmakers down the Capitol steps late last year, addressing the crowd before Bachmann did. He also spoke at rallies in Orlando, Fla., and Ohio and attended one in Bakersfield, Calif., with McCarthy.
But when it comes to joining the caucus, the Ohio Republican fell back on a long-standing promise not to join such groups.
“As a personal policy, Boehner is not a member of any caucus other than the House Republican Conference,” spokesman Michael Steele said in a statement to POLITICO.
There’s an advantage to watching the fire from a safe distance, Carroll said.
“It’s brilliant politically to take advantage of this anti-Democratic, to a large extent, movement without being seen as orchestrating it,” she said.
But Bachmann’s formation of the new caucus has made her a force to be reckoned with inside the Republican Conference; indeed, at last fall’s tea party march on Capitol Hill, demonstrators yelled out, “Palin/Bachmann 2012.” Partially as a result of Bachmann’s — and Sarah Palin’s — star power, nearly a quarter of Americans believe the tea party “will become a viable third party in American politics,” according to a POLITICO poll released Monday.
Bachmann’s office said it hasn’t worked out many of the details of how the caucus will operate and interact with the tea party movement outside Congress. The group’s first step will be to find members to put tea party “principles into practice,” Dziok said. Its first meeting will be Wednesday.
Lawmakers and aides said there’s room for both the Tea Party Caucus and the conservative Republican Study Committee, whose members quite likely would provide a pool for Bachmann’s group.
Pence, a former chairman of the RSC, said he hasn’t spoken to Bachmann about what the group will do, but he welcomes the voice.
“I think iron sharpens iron,” he said.
Sarah Palin has a new political video for “Sarahpac.” Please watch this before reading:
Here are some things I learned about Sarah Palin’s political views from this video:
1. This is the year for “common sense conservative women”
2. Women love their kids.
3. In the last year and a half (since Obama’s election) women have awakened and don’t like the fundamental transformation (like comprehensive health care?) in America.
4. Moms are psychic- they just know something is “wrong.”
5. Moms have “woke up” in the last year and a half.
6. Momma Grizzles are tougher than pit bulls.
7. There is a “stampede” of pink elephants (which I assume are the aforementioned “conservative women”) crossing the aisle.
8. Grizzly bears can stand up on their hind legs.
9. Women are standing up (like grizzles?) this year.
10. The word adverse means “something bad”..thank you Mrs. Palin for that vocab lesson.
What political stance did she take-other than the “in the last year in a half” veiled Obama shout out. I feel that her, “I am woman, I love my kids, I am conservative, and you, a woman, should vote for me based on that alone” should be offensive to a modern woman. Is that all it takes? I cry to the like gendered “pink elephants” out there. I SINCERELY HOPE NOT!
I understand that this political ad was not geared at me – a male. However, I felt offended by it because the utter ignorance in the comparisons of women and bears and their ability to “stand up”, “wake up” and “protect kids and grand kids” from something adverse. Does Sarah Palin really think that democrats and other bears (?) want to harm their kids with their political beliefs? I have not seen nor heard of any Democrat agenda that involved any kid torture, bear attacks, or anti-women sentiment.
ANY WOMEN, PINK ELEPHANTS, OR MOMMA GRIZZLES AGREE WITH ME ON THIS?
Happy Thursday damnit!
Before you read this article please note WHO proposed the amendments and what how the vote turned out to pass these amendments…I think a lot of people in this country need to look behind the curtain.
Senate Ends Taxpayer-Funded Bank Bailouts
by: Patricia Murphy
The Senate made two significant changes to the Wall Street reform bill Wednesday, including a ban on using taxpayer money to salvage failing financial institutions.
The amendments followed a breakthrough in negotiations between Democratic and Republican leaders.
The first amendment came from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who proposed banning federal funds from being used to bail out large financial institutions. Boxer called her amendment “an ironclad assurance that if a failing Wall Street firm is liquidated, the cost of that liquidation must come either from selling off the firm’s assets or from assessments of big Wall Street firms.” The Senate passed it 96 to 1, with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) objecting.
Next up was a joint amendment from Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) prescribing an orderly disposal of firms deemed “too big to fail.” Their measure would give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) the power to seize and liquidate large financial firms if their failure would pose a risk to the U.S. economy.
The last-minute compromise hammered out between Dodd and Shelby came after Republicans refused for days to go along with Dodd’s original idea. He proposed creating a $50 billion bailout fund, paid for by banks, to use in case liquidation of large firms becomes necessary. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the proposal a “permanent bailout fund,” while Maine Republican Susan Collins warned that institutions engaged in risky behavior would have a government safety net.
The Senate passed the Shelby-Dodd measure, 93 to 5.
The near-unanimous votes came after weeks of partisan bickering by senators in both parties, with each side accusing the other of working to help Wall Street at the expense of small businesses and taxpayers.
Republicans argued that under the Dodd plan, any business that extends credit to its customers could be subject to the measure’s regulations. On Tuesday, McConnell warned it would give the federal government regulatory authority over businesses that are not financial institutions. “It has an extraordinarily broad reach at the moment, that could go right down to an orthodontist in middle America providing credit for a family having their child’s teeth straightened,” McConnell said.
But Democrats maintained that it would apply only to firms that make extending credit a core business.
At a press conference Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid alleged that any Republican objection to the overall reform bill is meant to protect Wall Street.
“Republicans are having difficulty determining how they’re going to continue making love to Wall Street,” Reid said. “It’s obvious they don’t want to put any decent restrictions on what Wall Street has done or is doing.”
With two roll call votes down, and more than 90 amendments still pending, Dodd predicted Wednesday that debate on financial reform will last at least through the end of next week.