There are things that people need to read. This is one of them.
by: Joe Klein
It is always an education to watch our American writhings from overseas. It is particularly excrutiating watching the Republican Party presidential candidates who, on a daily basis, pronounce some ignorant racist or irreligious twaddle…which–amazingly enough–manages to be heard around the world. As Crowley notes below, today’s example primo is Newt, who really needs to get back on his meds, worrying about his grandchildren:
“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
There is genius in this: no other human had located the secular humanist wing of radical Islam before. And then there is Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza who is pretending to run for President, proving that a black man can be as gutter-cheap bigoted as anyone. If elected, he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or the federal bench because:
There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.
Sharia law! Break out the burqas! Even Pete Wehner is appalled. I mean, what are these guys smoking? (Nothing so benign as marijuana, I would venture to say.)
This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can’t let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know. Mick Huckabee, the front-runner if you can believe it, might have to negotiate a trade agreement, or a defense treaty, with the Indonesian President some day. Newt might have to discuss very delicate matters of national security with the President of Pakistan. And so I plead, as an unflinching American patriot–please Mitch Daniels, please Jeb Bush, please run. I may not agree with you on most things, but I respect you. And you seem to respect yourselves enough not to behave like public clowns.
Please, in the name of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, run.
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.)
In response to this Tea Bagger billboard, a Tea Bagger leader, said:
“That’s just a waste of money, time, resources and it’s not going to further our cause,” said Shelby Blakely, a leaders of the Tea Party Patriots, a national group. “It’s not going to help our cause. It’s going to make people think that the tea party is full of a bunch of right-wing fringe people, and that’s not true.”
The Tea Party is NOT “a bunch of right-wing fringe people?” WHAT WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!
(PAUSE FOR DEEP BREATH)
If that is a fact (which it isn’t) then the Tea Party has a worse advertising group than the Democrats- and that is saying something.
Let’s break that quote down. It says that the Tea Party is not:
2) fringe people
Let’s look at each assertion separately:
Let’s take a look at the Tea Bagger Party and their views vs. Republican views (source from HERE) and maybe we will see that they are not right wing in their views at all (* NOTE: NOT HOLDING BREATH HERE) :
When asked what they considered “extremely serious threats” to the country’s future wellbeing, tea partiers cited the exact same things as run-of-the-mill Republicans. Shocker, right? Both groups overwhelmingly pointed to federal debt (61 percent of tea partiers, 55 percent of GOPers), Big Government (49 percent, 43 percent), health care costs (41 percent, 37 percent), and “terrorism” (51 percent, 51 percent) as the biggest threats to American prosperity. And in the category of unimportant threats, both groups dismiss the environment/global warming and discrimination against minorities. Here’s a good breakdown from Gallup:
“Yeah Matt what about the “FRINGE PEOPLE” part of that quote..but what about that, huh? So what they are conservative, but they aren’t extremists are they. You haven’t shown anything to support that HAVE YOU SMARTY PANTS?”
I hear your cry and well, since you asked for it…
So media coverage of the tea party is overblown? Maybe they’re not such a novel group after all? That’s the message gleaned by the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent:
The Tea Party movement gets a disproportionate share of media attention because of all the funny costumes, Hitler references, and fantasizing about armed revolution…
…and that doesn’t sound like “ fringe people” to you? What does then?
Maybe this Tea Party platform outline taken from http://www.teapartyplatform.us/Welcome.html will illustrate the “fringeness” of the Tea Party belief system:
Get government out of our lives and eliminate social security and medicare now!
As strict constructionists we believe the Constitution should be amended to protect life and prohibit all abortions, without exception.
Speaking of the Constitution, we believe citizenship should be denied to children of non-citizens born in the U.S. even though the 14th Amendment, says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” Common sense tells us they didn’t really mean all persons born in the United States. Did they?
Put God back in the schools and let curricula tell the truth – that evolution is just a theory, like the theory of gravity. Freedom of religion for all Christians. Jews might be ok too.
Appoint a special prosecutor to thoroughly investigate the probable foreign birth of Barack Hussein Obama.
On libertarian principles, private restaurants and other businesses should not be forced to serve minorities. Though we abhor discrimination and if there is a minority out there who wants to join us they are welcome!
Protect the 2nd Amendment rights of people who are on the terrorist no-fly list!
I seriously doubt you will find many “non-tea party” Republicans who will agree to this platform. At least, in public.
So there, RIGHT- WING FRINGE PEOPLE you are!
WHAT??? YOU NEED MORE PROOF???
This nugget is gleaned from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (found here.) Please note the last sentence of this paragraph:
Eight-in-ten Tea Party Republicans are closely following news about local candidates and campaigns, just half of Republicans who have no opinion about the Tea Party say the same. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) Tea Party Republicans are absolutely certain they will vote, compared with 68% of Republicans with no opinion about the Tea Party. Roughly two-thirds (65%) of Tea Party Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than usual; about half (49%) of Republicans with no opinion of the Tea Party say the same. On all three measures, Republicans with no opinion of the Tea Party movement share more in common with Democratic voters than with Tea Party Republican voters.
According to the article, You Tea Party wackos are ALL ABOUT SOME VOTING, way more so than Reps and Dems, (which is cool) but you have less in common with other CONSERVATIVES than the LIBERALS do!
SO, SIMPLY PUT THE DEMOCRATS (YOU KNOW THE SOCIALISTS, MARXISTS, ETC. ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN BILLBOARD) HAVE MORE IN COMMON WITH YOUR ALLIES THAN YOU DO.
YOU ARE “RIGHT- WING FRINGE PEOPLE.”
I rest my case.
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.
Below is an article written by Sam Stein, a political blogger. You can read the original posting here. I am not going to expound on what this article expresses until you read it for yourself. I will let you draw your own conclusions and my comments will follow. However, I will highlight my favorite parts of it, so you can easily predict what is currently pissing me off. (HINT: RED = BAD )
One year ago, the first Tea Party protest hadn’t even been held yet and the phrase remained safely ensconced in American history textbooks. This weekend, the first national Tea Party Convention will be held in Nashville, and the fractious movement has secured a place in the history of the Obama administration. But for all the attention it has earned, misconceptions abound. Here are the top five. Read the rest of this entry