Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Jul 3, 2013.
I blame the English..
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Looking Ahead: Boehner in the 114th
Looking Ahead: Boehner in the 114th
"I don't smoke and I don't suntan." ―Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS1)
Ouch. The "Tan Man" jab is one of Ed Schulz's favorite hits against Speaker John Boehner (R-OH8), but Republican hardliner Tim Huelskamp threw the punch recently, according to Roll Call:
Conservatives are increasingly — and not so quietly — showing the early signs of a speakership revolt. But short of a sudden groundswell of opposition from the GOP rank and file, or a magic wand, Speaker John A. Boehner is the one who controls his fate.
Just don't tell that to the Ohio Republican's foes.
“I think pretty well everybody's figured Mr. Boehner's going to be gone, and the question is Cantor and McCarthy,” said Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan. “But most conservatives are saying it's not just at the top; it's all the way through.”
Huelskamp, who was more than an active player in the last Boehner coup, told CQ Roll Call there are “a lot of meetings going on” about who could be speaker in the 114th Congress, and if Boehner should decide to say, conservatives are discussing how to remove him.
“I think there's efforts underway to do that,” Huelskamp said.
It's common congressional knowledge that Huelskamp and Boehner aren't the best of friends. Boehner stripped Huelskamp of his seat on Financial Services for the 113th. And Huelskamp had a whip list the last time conservatives tried to usurp the speakership. Recently asked about his relationship with Boehner, Huelskamp summed it up this way: “I don't smoke and I don't suntan.”
It is unlikely that 2014 is the year Democrats reclaim a House majority, so, yes, this is a story worth watching. At the same time, usurping the Speaker might well require more new votes than the GOP can win.
To the other, I couldn't possibly open a book on this one; I expect such an effort to unseat Boehner will fail, but there isn't any good way I can figure to put odds on it.
Fuller, Matt. "House Conservatives Agitate for Change in Leadership — but Can They Take Boehner's Gavel?". 218. April 22, 2014. Blogs.RollCall.com. April 22, 2014. http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/boehn...le-of-conservative-ire-can-they-oust-speaker/
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Ben E. Sasse—currently president of a Lutheran college in Nebraska that, under his tenure, has declined to the point that its accrediting agency put the school on notice—would appreciate the votes of his fellow Cornhuskers to send him to the United States Senate. With the backing of the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks, and a cover story in National Review, Sasse has broken state records for quarterly fundraising, which in turn is generally dedicated to hitting fellow Republicans, since the seat itself is considered safe Republican.
Last week, Sasse captured the Republican nomination after a fight in which candidates sought to appeal to hardline right-wing voters. And while the Republican game of keeping up with the hardline joneses seems to be a relatively effective way of getting Tea Party candidates into the general election, we already know from having watched train wrecks in 2010 (e.g., O'Donnell, Angle) and 2012 (Akin, Murdock) not only destroy such candidates in the general, but also pull down the top of the ticket while charging the other side.
Then again, Nebraska went to Romney in 2012 by twenty-one points; barring an actual scandal of monstrous proportions in which the candidate is caught in flagrante delicto, Ben Sasse is going to the United States Senate.
Ian Milhiser reported last week for ThinkProgress:
Sasse promises to promote an almost anarchistic vision of religious liberty as a member of the Senate. According to Sasse's website, "[g]overnment cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances" ....
.... The question of when religious belief exempts believers from following the law is at the forefront of our national debate right now, with the Supreme Court poised to decide whether religious business owners can refuse to offer birth control coverage as part of their employer-provided health plans, even when doing so would violate federal law. Yet, even the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court acknowledge that religious liberty is not an absolute right to violate any law at any time. As the crafting chain Hobby Lobby says in its brief to the justices, the government may limit religious believers actions when it uses "'the least restrictive means of furthering' a 'compelling governmental interest.'" This is the standard set by federal law, although there is some uncertainty about how the justices will interpret this legal standard in its Hobby Lobby decision.
Sasse, however, apparently believes that this law does not go far enough, even if the Court gives Hobby Lobby everything it is asking for. His proposed rule — that government cannot require someone to act counter to their religious beliefs "under any circumstances" — would mean that literally any law could be ignored by someone who held a religious belief counter to that law. According to National Geographic, for example, "[h]undreds, if not thousands, of women are murdered by their families each year in the name of family 'honor,'" and while this practice "goes across cultures and across religions," some of the perpetrators of honor killings are motivated by their religious faith. Under Sasse's formulation of religious liberty, a person who killed his own sister because he believed he was under a religious obligation to do so would be immune from prosecution for murder.
We can pause right there and say, "Okay, sure, but isn't that taking it a little too far?" And, perhaps it might seem so, but there is also history to account for. After all, it's a hard leap from birth control to honor killings, right? To that end, after noting some of our nation's more notorious assertions of religious conscience, Millhiser notes:
Under Sasse's preferred rule, where "government cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances," racists, sexists and homophobes who claim a religious justification for bigotry would be immune from anti-discrimination law. And his rule would not simply apply in sensitive areas of the law that protect people's lives and their livelihoods. Indeed, under Sasse's formulation, a person who believes that they violate their religious beliefs if they are late to church could ignore the speed limit, traffic lights, and stop signs if obeying traffic laws would cause them to miss just one minute of their church's Sunday service.
ThinkProgress contacted the Sasse campaign to offer them an opportunity to clarify whether the candidate truly believes that any practice, including "stoning adulterers or putting to death those who work on the Sabbath" should be allowed if it is justified by a religious belief. As of this writing, we have not received a response.
Observing the long and convoluted American tradition of contextually sleighting one another in political fights, one would think candidates and their campaign teams could see the functional problem with the appearance of promising too much in order to rally the base. And for those political hands, this is actually the unintentionally fun part, as Sasse's team gathers 'round the table to figure out what to do about this.
This is not the sort of political wager on which it is advisable to double down; the cards just aren't right for that. At the same time, how does one walk back a statement without admitting some sort of error? That sort of defensive posturing can be volatile, with high risk of truculence. Pretending to be a victim of the evil activist liberal media conspiracy is always an attractive card, but given the projected safety of this seat—PVI R+12—the ramifications for this or any response to the question are more likely drag on the generic Republican. That is to say, up- and down-ticket, the effects will likely be most apparent outside Nebraska, where other voters will tend to associate Sasse's extremism with the Republican brand label. While it is true that Mitt Romney made his own campaign deathbed in 2012, he certainly received more of the help one tends to not be thankful for from the Akins and Murdocks of the Republican downticket slate than any presidential candidate rightly deserves.
And while the media and party focus is ostensibly on large-ticket outcomes like U.S. Senate majority, these smaller dynamics are important. And while it is dramatic enough to discuss the battle for the soul of the Republican Party, there are also policy implications to consider.
One of the subtle but observable processes rising to the fore over the last quarter-century is a neurotic cycle in which one undertakes a losing battle in order to steel his own resolve. In the Gay Fray, circa 1992-93, conservative voters in Colorado were offended by the idea that they could not simply vote to violate the U.S. Constitution. Rather than accepting the prospect of Constitutional limitations, conservatives complained about activist judges and sought to capitalize on their losses by pitching them to sympathetic hearts and minds as guv'mint oppressi'n. From the Gay Fray to graze frays, we see similar mechanics in the rhetoric of the Cliven Bundy movement in Nevada; the assertion and maintenance of an untenable thesis leads directly to political and judicial losses that augment perception of un- or dis-empowerment, leading in turn to more desperately untenable assertions in order to rally the base, which leads to more losses and thus further alienation; gosub/return.
At the very least, Mr. Sasse has put himself in the position of having made an untenable assertion. Now we might simply watch and see how Team Sasse responds to the inevitable, foreseeable questions that people making these assertions tend to overlook. The most obvious clarifications and refinements in order to elevate the assertion out of the swampy circus and onto a respectable stage risks deflating enthusiasm among his support base. It is politically dangerous to double down on this hand, except the biggest risks are suffused through other political markets; this isn't something that will cost him an election in Nebraska. Still, though, when the Nebraska marketplace validates such talk, is this something Sasse's fellow Republicans will want to answer for?
But all that waits until we hear back from Mr. Sasse and his team.
Millhiser, Ian. "Nebraska Senate Nominee Says Religious Beliefs Can Justify Breaking Any Law". ThinkProgress. May 14, 2014. ThinkProgress.org. May 17, 2014. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/05/14/3437587/nebraska-sasse-absolute-religious-liberty/
Associated Press. "Tea Party Favorite Captures Nebraska Senate Primary". National Public Radio. May 13, 2014. NPR.org. May 17, 2014. http://www.npr.org/2014/05/13/312321644/tea-party-favorite-captures-nebraska-senate-primary
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Oregon: Wehby's Web of Weird
Accused Stalker Wins Oregon GOP Senate Primary
Oh, this is one of those nearly entertaining chapters in American politics. If you've got, oh, twenty minutes or so to spare, Rachel Maddow ran a wonderful segment last night on the weirdness in Oregon.
And it's true that Monica Wehby is just one facet of that weirdness, but here goes:
Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby clinched the Republican Senate nomination in Oregon on Tuesday, beating out state Rep. Jason Conger ....
.... The opposition research on Wehby is already flying, and she will have to deal with some image issues straight out of the gate in a state already challenging for Republicans statewide.
On Monday, The Oregonian reported on documents showing Wehby's ex-husband accused her of “ongoing harassment” in 2007, while they were going through a divorce. Last week, Politico reported that Wehby's ex-boyfriend had called the police on her for breaking into his home and “stalking” him in the aftermath of their break-up.
In the end, perhaps it is inconsequential; barring some scandal in which Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) gets caught having Satanic orgies with children and manatees, the seat marked as Safe Democrat.
And it is easy enough to promise that Wehby is the proverbial "tip of the iceberg". Then again, the state GOP is run by Art Robinson, a self-described scientist who thinks dosing children with radioactive waste will make them healthier and is currently on a mission to collect five years worth of urine from Oregonians; the outside superpac money is coming from investors with no relationship to Oregon itself; and the big in-state patron is a medical devices businessman who has devoted his time in recent years to sexual hypnotherapy and explaining why women are fat. And there is some strangeness in there with Wehby's boyfriend or ex-boyfriend—who has accused her of stalking—running a superpac backing her candidacy.
And that's just one race. The real entertainment will come as GOP Chair Robinson undertakes his rematch against Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR4). The drinking game should center around whether anyone can avoid jokes about glow-in-the-dark piss.
No, really. This is Oregon. And, in truth, it sounds only marginally more bizarre than when I lived there almost twenty years ago.
Maddow, Rachel. "Political weirdness finds a home in Oregon". The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC, New York. May 19, 2014. Television. msnbc.com. May 20, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-...weirdness-finds-a-home-in-oregon-260894275794
Levinson, Alexis. "Monica Wehby Wins GOP Senate Primary in Oregon". At the Races. May 21, 2014. ATR.RollCall.com. May 20, 2014. http://atr.rollcall.com/monica-wehby-wins-gop-senate-primary-in-oregon/
Redefining Murder ... Sort Of
State Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA12) wants a promotion to the United States Senate. With the backing of Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and twenty-three of her state-legislature fellows, as well as endorsements from Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Ernst approaches the June 3 primary contest with a sixteen-point lead over her nearest competitor.
This despite her poor attendance record, and an advert suggesting that her experience castrating pigs speaks to her skill in budgetary issues.
No, really. She thought she was making a cute joke. And it's also a reasonable political tactic as long as the audience isn't laughing their asses off.
But as Sen. Ernst burnishes her conservative credentials, well ... yeah.
Asked about the recent massacre in California in the context of a campaign commercial that shows her shooting a handgun, Ernst touted the support she's receiving from the National Rifle Association.
"Just because of a horrible, horrible tragedy, I don't believe we should be infringing upon people's Second Amendment rights," she said, referring to the Santa Barbara shooting as an "unfortunate accident."
As critics on the internet seized on her use of the term "accident," the Ernst campaign stressed Ernst also called it a "tragedy" earlier in the answer.
"As she said when she first answered the question, Joni believes that this was a terrible tragedy," said spokesman Derek Flowers, who accused Democrats of "playing gotcha politics."
So let us be clear. No matter what we think of the idiots who kill/wound by (ahem!) "accident" of irresponsibility freedom and (ahem!) "responsible" gun ownership (ad nauseam), those incidents are what we call accidents.
A delusional, pathetic moron deciding to take revenge on society with a shooting spree because blonde women don't recognize his perfection?
Well, I guess in Iowa that's what folks call an accident.
James, Frank. "In Politics, Hog Castration Cuts Through The Ad Clutter". It's All Politics. March 28, 2014. NPR.org. May 30, 2014. http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpoli...cs-hog-castration-cuts-through-the-ad-clutter
Hohmann, James. "Joni Ernst focused on primary in final Iowa debate". Politico. May 29, 2014. Politico.com. May 30, 2014. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/joni-ernst-election-iowa-debate-107237.html
Team McConnell's Terms
How ... er ... um ... ah .... That is to say ... I mean ... right.
In challenging Grimes to a series of three debates last week, [Sen. Mitch McConnell] laid down ground rules including that the debates be completed around Labor Day; the debates be held "Lincoln-Douglas style," with just the two candidates asking questions of each other; that there be no audience present and a single moderator keeps time; and that there be no members of the media in the room.
As we might expect, Lundergan Grimes did not agree to those terms.
I don't know, maybe the whole debate should be done via video conference, with each of the candidates in a THX 1138 style cubicle, and the moderator beaming in via satellite from the International Space Station.
Steve Benen noted, last month:
The Republican National Committee is committed to learning from its mistakes and keeping the circus under tight control in the 2016 election.
Virtually every Republican leader agrees that the 20 GOP debates in the last presidential primary season damaged Mitt Romney – remember “self-deportation”? – and briefly made front-runners out of eventual flameouts like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.
Party leaders vowed never to let it happen again. On Thursday, they took action, moving at a Republican National Committee meeting here to dramatically cut the number of GOP primary debates – possibly in half.
A group of 13 RNC members, essentially operating under the control of party Chairman Reince Priebus, will choose the timing, location and media partners of the 2015-2016 Republican primary debates. They will insist that conservative panelists join moderators from the mainstream media.
That last part is of particular interest.
Last summer, when the RNC was apoplectic about some proposed biopics on Hillary Clinton, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told msnbc he intends to reject 2016 debate moderators unless he considers them sufficiently “interested in the future of the Republican Party and our nominees.”
In other words, debates aren’t news events or forums intended to benefit voters; they’re supposed to be a sort of infomercial – friendlier questions, fewer events, reduced gaffe opportunities.
And according to the new plan, if Republican presidential hopefuls participate in debates the RNC disapproves of, the candidates will face sanctions, including possible exclusion from other “real” debates.
Right now the GOP is working itself through diverse contortions in its attempt to alleviate the painful knots left over from the 2012 cycle debates.
The idea of strictly-controlled cooperative "debates" to roll out the party platform is not, in and of itself, so problematic; it's just that those performances might work better alongside (ahem!) "real" debates.
But the Majority Leader has apparently set a new standard for strictly silly.
Gerth, Joe. "Alison Grimes has own debate terms for Mitch McConnell". The Courier-Journal. May 29, 2014. Courier-Journal.com. June 2, 2014. http://www.courier-journal.com/stor...29/grimes-mcconnell-debate-challenge/9715671/
Benen, Steve. "RNC seeks to take control of debate circus". MSNBC. May 9, 2014. MSNBC.com. June 2, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/rnc-seeks-take-control-debate-circus
An Example of the Problem
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Welcome to Georgia's Tenth Congressional District.
Eric W. Dolan explains the latest controversy for The Raw Story:
A Republican candidate seeking to represent Georgia's 10th U.S. House district believes that the First Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty does not apply to followers of Islam.
"Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology," Rev. Jody Hice wrote in his 2012 book It's Now Or Never, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection." ....
.... Hice has previously said that Islam and the U.S. Constitution are incompatible.
"Most people think Islam is a religion, it's not. It's a totalitarian way of life with a religious component. But it's much larger. It's a geo-political system that has governmental, financial, military, legal and religious components. And it's a totalitarian system that encompasses every aspect of life and it should not be protected (under U.S. law)," he told members of the Coweta County Tea Party Patriots in 2011, according to The Citizen.
"This is not a tolerant, peaceful religion even though some Muslims are peaceful. Radical Muslims believe that Sharia is required by God and must be imposed worldwide. It's a movement to take over the world by force. A global caliphate is the objective," he added.
Why does this keep happening?
Dolan, Eric W. "Georgia GOP candidate Jody Hice: Muslims not protected by the First Amendment". The Raw Story. June 23, 2014. RawStory.com. June 24, 2014. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/...muslims-not-protected-by-the-first-amendment/
People for the American Way and Right Wing Watch. "The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism". (n.d.) PFAW.org. June 24, 2014. http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/the-right-wing-playbook-anti-muslim-extremism
Mississipi Tea Party Vice-Chair, Arrested in Scandal, Dead of Apparent Suicide
Midterm Madness: GOP Contest Gains Death Toll
It is hard to describe what has been going on in Mississippi this year. Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel just lost a brutal primary fight against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R), a campaign that saw the GOP establishment turn to Democratic voters—particularly black Democrats—to keep his long political career afloat. And it worked, with the result that the GOP in Mississippi is facing possible schism, and nationwide reaction among hardline conservative factions ranges from simple shock to threatening to vote for Democrats[sup]†[/sup] to suggesting a new third party[sup]‡[/sup].
But among the twists of knife and plot, turns of screw and principle, the truly morbid episode had to do with four people arrested for a bizarre stunt in which someone broke into a nursing home to take unauthorized photographs of Cochran's invalid wife, which turned up in a television advertisement.
[Mark] Mayfield of Ridgeland, an attorney and state and local tea party leader, was arrested last month along with Richard Sager, a Laurel elementary school P.E. teacher and high school soccer coach. Police said they also charged John Beachman Mary of Hattiesburg, but he was not taken into custody because of "extensive medical conditions." All face felony conspiracy charges. Sager also was charged with felony tampering with evidence, and Mary faces two conspiracy counts.
The arrest of Mayfield, well-known in political, business and legal circles, caused shock in Mississippi, in a criminal case and election that already had Mississippi in the national spotlight.
Earlier today, Mark Mayfield, vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, was discovered in his home, dead of an apparent suicidal gunshot.
The nastiest primary this year just picked up a death toll.
[sup]†[/sup] It's like a bizarro 1994, with the accusation that Republicans are now merely "Democrat lite", so if you're going to vote against conservatives you might as well vote for a Democrat. Steve Kornacki had the chair for Hardball yesterday, and hosted a fabulously furious discussion of the blowback and fallout from the Cochran victory.
[sup]‡[/sup] Can you imagine a Freedom Party run by co-chairs Sarah Palin and Mark Levin?
Gates, Jimmie E. "Update: Tea party leader Mayfield dead of apparent suicide". The Clarion-Ledger. June 27, 2014. ClarionLedger.com. June 27, 2014. http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2014/06/27/mark-mayfield-dead/11456769/
Kornacki, Steve. "Tea Party lashes out over Mississippi runoff". MSNBC, New York. June 26, 2014. Television. MSNBC.com. June 27, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/tea-party-lashes-out-over-mississippi-runoff-290139203866
So Much for the "Hospitality State"
Let us start with a headline:
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Now, true enough, The Daily Beast is hardly a newspaper of record, but the headline holds true enough such as it is.
Ben Jacobs tries to explain for The Daily Beast:
After winning last week's Republican runoff, the campaign of six-term incumbent Senator Thad Cochran held a conference call for national media on Wednesday to respond to allegations from defeated Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel that the election was somehow stolen. The call lasted about ten minutes before descending into absolute anarchy after a pro-McDaniel blogger obtained the dial-in information and posted it on Twitter. With McDaniel supporters streaming on and the Cochran campaign using a free service where they couldn't mute callers, it turned into mayhem.
The call, hosted by Austin Barbour, a senior advisor to the Cochran campaign, started off with a vigorous defense of the senator's win last week. Barbour said that "while we've been very gracious to [State] Senator McDaniel and his supporters about their effort . . . the time now has come that we as the Cochran campaign can no longer sit in silence with baseless rumors fed by McDaniel campaign and its out of state allies." Barbour started to go through what the campaign was doing as well as reviewing returns in key precincts called into question by McDaniel. Then things fell apart.
An unidentified male caller continued to interrupt Barbour by asking about whether "It was OK for Cochran to harvest black votes like black people harvested cotton?" The questioner repeatedly chimed in and eventually Barbour gave up, saying reporters with questions should contact either him or campaign spokesman Jordan Russell on their cellphones.
The call then went on for another 30 minutes as various people engaged extended debate about whether the man who interrupted the call was a Cochran plant or "maybe Obama" as one person speculated. They darkly noted that whoever asked the question "wasn't doing McDaniel no favors" and suggested that it was part of a plot to get the national media to say that McDaniel supporters think African Americans are "cotton-pickers." Another woman on the call was confused about the harvesting cotton reference, after all, she said was a 36-year-old white female who had harvested cotton too. Eventually, McDaniel supporters started urging other fellow Tea Partiers to get off the call with one loud voice saying "McDaniel supporters, hang up the phone now." At that point, the call first got meta as those remaining read tweets about it while eventually it descended into people playing clips of Barack Obama and Dick Cheney off Internet soundboards before it was finally disconnected.
Sam R. Hall of The Clarion-Ledger offers some more detail:
California-based blogger Charles C. Johnson posted the call-in number on Twitter and encouraged people to call in and crash the call. He succeeded.
Cochran campaign advisor Austin Barbour started the conference call normally. After a few minutes of talking about working with McDaniel volunteers in the Hinds County courthouse reviewing ballots and how the campaign set up its GOTV effort, an unidentified male started asking about harvesting cotton and black votes. (The call was aimed at national and other media who could not make their Jackson presser.)
Barbour tried to continue on, but he was repeatedly cut off by the man. Eventually Barbour and Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell told media that they could be reached by email or cell phone and then hung up.
Afterward, McDaniel supporters talked a bit criticizing the guy who asked about harvesting black votes. They were worried that media would report that the guy was a McDaniel supporter. One female McDaniel supporter suggested the guy was a Cochran supporter planted to make the McDaniel campaign sound racist.
Callers, including some who identified themselves as McDaniel supporters, agreed that if the guy was a McDaniel supporter himself, he had done the state senator no favors with the racist remarks.
A couple of reporters asked if the guy was Johnson. Two people on the call who identified themselves later as McDaniel supporters said it was not Johnson. (Based on hearing Johnson talking before the call started, it did not sound like him at all. And if my guess is right, it's a well known racist who is still stuck on the 2001 flag vote.)
Finally an unidentified woman came on and the call was likely being recorded and that the best thing McDaniel supporters on the call could do is get off the phone. At that time, several people said their goodbyes and then got off.
Daniel Strauss of TPM DC tells it this way:
A conference call by top staffers for Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) campaign was cut short after a caller on the line kept asking about "blacks picking Cotton" and the Cochran campaign harvesting votes of black people.
The call was hosted by Cochran campaign adviser Austin Barbour and spokesman Jordan Russell. It was meant for national media who couldn't attend an earlier in-person press conference where the Cochran campaign called on state Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) campaign to substantiate claims of finding widespread voter fraud in the runoff election between McDaniel and Cochran (which Cochran won).
Shortly before the call, obscure conservative blogger Chuck Johnson, who published a story recently alleging that the Cochran campaign was buying black votes at $15 a pop, said he would be joining the call and invited others to do the same.
Once the call got underway, one of the participants in a male-sounding voice kept asking about "blacks picking Cotton" and asked if the Cochran campaign was "harvesting" African-Americans votes. The caller did not introduce himself and repeatedly tried to talk over Barbour.
"Why is it okay to harvest the votes of black people?" the caller asked.
"Alright so listen I will give everybody a chance to answer a question when we get through and we'll be happy to answer any question from members of the media," Barbour said at first.
"I'd like to know if the black people were harvesting cotton why do you think it's okay to harvest their votes?" the caller asked again. "They're not animals, why're you treating black people like they're just votes?"
"Sir, I don't know where you're calling from but I'm happy to address any question, no matter the lunacy of it —" Barbour said before being cut off.
"It's not lunacy. Why did you use black people? Why did you use black people to get Cochran elected when they're not even Republicans and you're treating them as if they're just idiots that they'll vote for Cochran just because they're black," the caller said.
Barbour said someone was trying to hijack the call and shortly thereafter ended the call.
After the call ended some of the callers stayed on the phone.
"We were all listening and you were being rude," another caller, a woman, said to another caller.
After the call, Johnson tweeted that it wasn't him who asked the question.
As Jacobs remarked at the outset of his account, "The Senate race in Mississippi is so strange that they can't even get through a conference call without weirdness breaking out."
Once known as the Hospitality State, this is Mississippi in the twenty-first century.
Jacobs, Ben. "Racists and Conspiracy Nuts Turn Cochran Call Into The Biggest Campaign Sh*tshow of 2014". The Daily Beast. July 2, 2014. TheDailyBeast.com. July 2, 2014. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl...acist-references-and-conspiracy-theories.html
Hall, Sam R. "Cochran presser: Most entertaining conference call ever". The Clarion-Ledger. July 2, 2014. ClarionLedger.com. July 2, 2014. http://www.clarionledger.com/story/dailyledes/2014/07/02/cochran-conference-call/12105085/
Strauss, Daniel. "Press Call Ambushed By Caller Who Asked If Cochran 'Harvested' Votes From 'Blacks Picking Cotton'". Talking Points Memo DC. July 2, 2014. TalkingPointsMemo.com. July 2, 2014. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/thad-cochran-call-ambushed-chris-mcdaniel-blacks-picking-cotton
And the Band Plays On
North Star One
Earlier this week, Republicans in Minnesota's First Congressional District selected businessman, former legislative assistant, son of a congressman, and former Treasury Department official Jim Hagedorn. His victory over Aaron Miller apparently surprised pundits and analysts.
And now, perhaps, voters as well. Or maybe not; it seems Republican congressional primary voters have a knack for this sort of thing.
Republican congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn could face a major obstacle in his race to unseat Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz: conservative blogger Jim Hagedorn.
Hagedorn, the son of retired congressman Tom Hagedorn, was a surprise victor in last Tuesday's GOP primary. But he brings some serious baggage to his race against Walz, a four-term incumbent. In posts from his old blog, Mr. Conservative ... Hagedorn made light of American Indians, President Obama's Kenyan ancestry, and female Supreme Court justices, among others, in ways many voters won't appreciate.
One might certainly note that the offenses, compared to some committed by his fellow Wreck-It Republicans, almost seem to have some effort put into them, like the corny "half-pissed" joke about the president's aunt.
Others, seem to have way too much fun about them:
Hagedorn also reveled in the type of gay innuendo you may have heard in high school courtyards in decades past. (Kids these days know better.) He referred to former Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl as an "alleged switch-hitter" and a "packer." Former GOP candidate Mike Taylor, the target of a homophobic attack ad during his campaign against then-Sen. Max Baucus, came out even worse: "[T]he ad really bent Taylor over with rage and caused him to go straight to the bar and get lubricated," Hagedorn wrote. "It must have taken all Taylor's power to refrain from fisting…err…using his fists on Max Baucus, or at the very least ream him inside and out."
In an entry on the Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which ruled that state bans on sodomy were unconstitutional, he wrote: "Butt (sic) never have winners lost so dearly. The Court's voyage into uncharted, untreated cultural bathhouse waters was designed to offer a gentle push from behind…to generate a small skip forward for the pink triangle class…to throw them a bone, so to speak."
Lest anyone challenge his bona fides, Hagedorn wanted to make abundantly clear he was a straight white male. "Senator McCain's campaign was all but flat lined before he brought the feisty Caribou Barbie into our living rooms," he wrote in 2008. "Which reminds me, on behalf of all red-blooded American men: THANK YOU SENATOR McCAIN, SARAH'S HOT!"
Indeed, hotness counts; Harriet Miers was apparently nominated "to fill the bra" of Sandra Day O'Connor, but I think that's only true insofar as we might reflect upon the possible motives of the president who nominated her; despite the obvious point of George W. Bush nominating an intellectually unqualified friend to high position, the fact that she was a woman also served a political puropse. That is to say, he certainly didn't nominate any of the men he knew who happened to be both attorney and idiot. In Republicanland, Sarah Palin is the celebrity equivalent of a porn star; by the same measure, Ms. Meirs is the skinny grandma giving hummers in a motel parking lot to pay of her husband's meth debts.
And, indeed, some of it wouldn't really be shocking—e.g., "The race has been highlighted by a Democrat drive to register voters in several of several of South Dakota's expansive redistribution of wealth centers…err…casino parlors…err…Indian reservations. Remarkably, many of the voters registered for absentee ballots were found to be chiefs and squaws who had returned to the spirit world many moons ago."—but it probably would have been better if he left the genocide joke out of it all.
Alleging that fake votes from Indians would provide the margin of victory, he echoed "John Wayne's wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian."
Hagedorn may have been joking. (The quip's real author, General Philip Sheridan, wasn't.) But American Indians were a favorite punching bag over at Mr. Conservative. In that same post, he referred to Nevada as a land of "nuclear waste and thankless Indians." What made the state's Native American population thankless? Hagedorn didn't say.
In his own defense, Hagedorn has noted before, "I poke fun at everybody, including Republicans".
I wonder if he has ever voiced his sympathy for the widsdom that the only good Republican is a dead Republican. You know, as one of his fellow Republicans said not so long ago, "Second Amendment solutions".
Then again, Tim Murphy of Mother Jones has also committed a serious gaffe, writing, "It looks like Tim Walz might be staying in Washington a little bit longer."
Yeah, I see it too, Tim, but come on, man; this is America, and MN-1 as a Cook's index of R+1. You never know. Still, though, the GOP House primaries are where it's at. Well, okay, there's also Joni Ernst in the Iowa Senate race ... oh, right, and has McDaniel conceded yet in the Missouri Senate primary? Nope? A'ight, then.
Murphy, Tim. "House Candidate Called Female Senators 'Undeserving Bimbos in Tennis Shoes'". Mother Jones. August 22, 2014. MotherJones.com. August 23, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics...te-jim-hagedorn-mr-conservative-blog-tim-walz
Lowry, Rich. "Projecting through the Screen". The Corner. October 3, 2008. NationalReview.com. August 23, 2014. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/171291/projecting-through-screen/rich-lowry
Newton-Small. "Why Joni Ernst Isn't 'Iowa's Sarah Palin'". Time. August 17, 2014. Time.com. August 22, 2014. http://time.com/3132793/why-joni-ernst-isnt-iowas-sarah-palin/
Bump, Phillip. "Among the questionable votes presented by Chris McDaniel’s lawyer? His own.". The Fix. August 12, 2014. WashingtonPost.com. August 23, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...ls-lawyer-the-vote-of-chris-mcdaniels-lawyer/
Bribery Scandal Touches Has-Beens, Rising Stars, Senate Minority Leader
What Iowa is Worth
Nobody knows, nobody knows.
I suppose it's also a matter of context: What does that even mean?
See also: "Poor Mitch?" (2014: Omens, Prophecies, and Other Divinations. Sciforums. August 8, 2013.)
Set that one aside for a moment. Sen. McConnell is the least stained in this; his stench of wrongdoing isn't appropriate at this time, but merely a matter of associations.
Players: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN06); Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX14); Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-37); Jesse Benton (fmr. campaign staffer for Rep. Ron Paul, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY; campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY).
The story so far:
• 2011: In advance of the Iowa caucuses, high-ranking campaigner for Bachmann presidential campaign switches sides, joining Team Paul.
• Rep. Bachmann accuses Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson of accepting a bribe from the Ron Paul campaign to change his endorsement and switch campaign teams.
• Investigation asserts Bachmann campaign had bribed Sorenson to come on board in the first place.
• Turns out he was on the take from both. Earlier today, three years after the scandal opened with an awkward press statement from Bachmann, Sorenson pleaded guilty to federal charges of accepting $73,000 in bribes from the Ron Paul presidential campaign. The question naturally arises whether Rep. Paul knew; the answer is presently unclear.
• Established by Sorenson's statements, affirmed by evidence, Paul campaign staffer Jesse Benton facilitated the bribe.
• Unfortunately for Mitch McConnell, Jesse Benton switched teams to run the Senate Minority Leader's re-election campaign a little over a year ago (see note above).
Russ Choma of OpenSecrets.org explains the latest guilty plea; Rachel Maddow covered the scandal, as well, on her show this evening, with transcript to come and episode sources already posted, including Kent Sorenson's plea.
And, actually, yes, poor Mitch! At the very least, Jesse Benton, who explained his switch from Rand Paul to Mitch McConnell as "sort of holding my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit for Rand in 2016", was away from Kentucky's junior senator, and attached to the state's senior Senator, the Senate Minority Leader, when this chapter broke open. Turns out that what he was doing really was a big benefit for Rand Paul. The corruption of the Ron Paul Revolution won't stain him nearly as badly, since his ... niece's ...? husband was attached to McConnell when this whole thing went South.
No, seriously, Jesse Benton is married to Valori Pyeatt, who is in turn a granddaughter of Ron Paul.
A big benefit for Rand, indeed.
Meanwhile, both Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are finished, anyway. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is among those left holding the bag.
I'm not certain what adjective goes before the word "disaster", but this is a _____ disaster.
What is wrong with these people?
Choma, Russ. "Former Iowa Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Money to Back Ron Paul". Open Secrets. August 27, 2014. OpenSecrets.org. August 27, 2014. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/201...s-guilty-to-accepting-money-to-back-ron-paul/
Fernia, Will. "Citations for the August 27, 2014 TRMS". msnbc. August 27, 2014. msnbc.com. August 27, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/citations-the-august-27-2014-trms
United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. United States of America v. Kent J. Sorenson. 2014. S3.DocumentCloud.org. August 27, 2014. http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1280772/sorenson-information-and-plea-agreement.pdf
Jesse Benton Resigns From McConnell Campaign
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In summary: Jesse Benton, who once explained that he was "holding his nose" to work for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in order to help, in turn, the Paul family in young Rand's presidential pursuits, has resigned from the senior Kentucky senator's re-election campaign. Benton, who is married to former Rep. Ron Paul's (R-TX14) granddaughter, is resigning in scandal after a former Iowa state senator, Kent Sorenson, pled guilty in federal court to accepting a bribe in order to abandon his endorsement and campaign support of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN06) presidential campaign in 2012, in order to give that endorsement and effort to Rep. Paul. Jesse Benton is allegedly one of the active participants in arranging the bribe.
Steve Benen notes:
For his part, Benton blasted "unsubstantiated media rumors" and insisted that the allegations surrounding his role in the Sorenson bribery scandal are "false."
If Benton is guilty of no wrongdoing, why resign late on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend? The Republican operative's statement added he feared "becoming a distraction" to Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign.
Benton's sudden resignation from the Senate Minority Leader's campaign, however, does not mark the end of the controversy.
We don't yet know, for example, exactly what role, if any, Benton played in the bribery scandal. That said, we know the Ron Paul campaign paid bribes to at least one Iowa politician, that Benton was the Ron Paul campaign's political director at the time, and there are emails that indicate Benton "was involved in efforts to get [Sorenson] to defect from the Bachmann campaign" in early 2012.
We also know that Benton chose to resign just two days after Sorenson's guilty plea.
As for Mitch McConnell, in the midst of a difficult re-election campaign, the Kentucky Republican has said very little about his campaign aides caught up in this mess, though that's probably an unsustainable posture.
What's more, as a general rule, when an incumbent is forced to change campaign managers nine weeks before Election Day, that campaign has a bit of a problem.
And, you know, he's got a point. That is to say, as David Weigel explains for Slate:
Dennis Fusaro has finally claimed his scalp. More than a year ago, Fusaro—a veteran of the first and less successful Ron Paul GOP presidential bid—started taping phone calls between himself and veterans of Paul's 2012 campaign. Right before the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson had bolted from Michelle Bachmann's campaign to join Paul. Bachmann claimed that Sorenson was bribed. He denied it.
Fusaro kept on the story. He made calls, and released the tapes to the Economic Policy Journal and the Iowa Republican. He got Sorenson referring to a check, confirming a possible bribe from Demitri Kesari, then working for the Paul campaign.
"I know Jesse knows," said Sorenson, after being prodded by Fusaro.
"Jesse" was Jesse Benton, Paul's 2012 spokesman, and (after 2008's campaign) the husband of one of Paul's granddaughters. Fusaro called him to talk about the allegations, and in the process to snark about his new job managing Mitch McConnell's re-election bid.
Let us wonder, then, just how the Senate Minority Leader intends to blame this on President Obama.
Benen, Steve. "McConnell campaign manager resigns amid bribery scandal". msnbc. August 30, 2014. msnbc.com. September 1, 2014.
Weigel, David. "Mitch McConnell's Campaign Manager Resigns After Being Ensnared in Iowa Ron Paul Scandal". Slate. August 29, 2014. Slate.com. September 1, 2014.
Bearing the Republican Standard
Scott Brown Tips the Republican Hand
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The fact that former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) actually won an election should be, at the very least, suggestive of something. But what we've seen and heard since has been enough to wonder if the GOP has a problem with the depth chart; the question arises if Brown's election in Massachusetts was more of a one-off phenomenon derived from much more general factors than, say, Bay State voters waking up one morning and deciding en masse that with Ted Kennedy dead, they might as well all join the Republican Party.
So whether it's offering to marry off his daughters as part of a victory speech, reveling in the support of air-hatcheting racists, or simply forgetting what state he's in now that he wants to be "Sen. Scott Browm (R-NH)", the Scott Brown Show has been one of the more bizarre inflictions Republicans have visited upon American society in recent years.
Consider, for instance, all the talk we've heard about jobs in recent years. True enough, the Republican jobs jobs jobs jabortion ruse probably won't work as well this time around in purple states and districts, but think about the weekly jobs numbers, and how politicians battle back and forth, accusing each other of failing on jobs, and then some of them, when cornered, will retreat to betrayal—who? me? jobs?
Take it away, Mr. Brown:
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, appeared on a local radio show this week and caused a bit of a stir. Specifically, he suggested his supporters in neighboring states should come to the Granite State, take advantage of same-day registration, and vote for him, in effect calling for voter fraud on a massive scale.
The problem, of course, was that Brown was kidding. If you listen to the audio, it seems he probably wasn't serious about the scheme, though given his personal circumstances, this is an odd thing for Brown to joke about.
But a day later, the former senator was entirely serious when he made these comments to a group of voters:
"Here's the thing. People say, 'What are you going to do to create jobs?' I am not going to create one job, it is not my job to create jobs. It's yours. My job is to make sure that government stays out of your way so that you can actually grow and expand. Obamacare's a great example. The number one job inhibitor right now is Obamacare .... We have to repeal it."
He is hardly the first Republican, or politician in general, to spontaneously retreat to the politicians have no influence over employment argument, but the trade-off is that Brown can no longer run on any sort of "jobs" platform or record. And the usual formulation is to argue that "government" cannot create jobs, despite the fact that the politician saying so is often either holding or asking to be given, a publicly-created job.
And if we bear in mind that consideration, well, how did Brown not recognize that voters do, indeed, respond to these sorts of arguments? Voters really do believe, and rightly so, it seems, that politicians have some influence over the employment economy.
So the argument is Brown puts forward is not that government cannot create jobs, but that he, as part of the government does not believe that influencing the employment economy falls under his would-be congressional purview.
And while it might, in the minds of the former Massachusetts senator and his campaign staff, seem a worthwhile venture, pushing the occasionally popular fallback argument that politicians don't create jobs, that isn't what he said. Still, though, as Benen argues, even setting aside the bizarre PPACA sleight, which has no basis in reality, for Brown to proudly and calmly explain that he is not going to create even a single job "is so misguided, it’s the kind of comment that’s likely to linger for a while", and that, in turn, combined with the fact that Brown did previously, when running in Massachusetts, try to promote himself as a job-creating politician, raises what could be the actual takeaway for voters:
Just as a matter of rudimentary political competence, what kind of candidate tells voters, “I am not going to create one job”?
It would be one thing if Brown was rolling stances based on some sort of objective evidence suggesting for its own part that it is time to put the whole job-creation argument to rest, anyway. It would be another if Brown simply followed the boilerplate and argued that government is not an efficient job-creator. But that's not what he said.
"I am not going to create one job, it is not my job to create jobs."
See, the thing is that we can go down the list and make excuses for the granitebagger, but none of those offerings really pan out. Try this one: What if he was saying that to a group of wealthy donors who already consider themselves 'job creators'? In that case ... well, in any case, to be honest ... he isn't anywhere near the destructive potential as Mitt Romney's astounding forty-seven percent gaffe.
Still, though, given the Republican inability to count to fifty-seven, it will be interesting to see what sort of overly complex excuses the Bay State Bagger offers his new New Hampshire neighbors in order to escape what really, on its face, ought to be recognizable as one of the worst sound-bites a politician can offer.
The fun part here would be if the journalists actually did their jobs for a day, and asked all the other elected officials who have endorsed his candidacy and also complained about President Obama's jobs figures if they agree with Mr. Brown's argument.
But elections are serious business, so we don't have time for such hijinks.
It's a convenient circumstance for Mr. Brown. But it doesn't need to be.
Benen, Steve. "Scott Brown: 'I am not going to create one job'". msnbc. September 4, 2014. msnbc.com. September 4, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/scott-brown-i-am-not-going-create-one-job
If the infamous Koch brothers offer any actual value to the American political system, it is found in watching who and what they support, or, in this case, don't.
Maybe Steve Benen can clear things up:
It didn't get too much attention at the time, but in mid-August, the Koch brothers' Freedom Partners network quietly made an announcement. The conservative operation had purchased $1.1 million in television time in Michigan, apparently in the hopes of boosting Terri Lynn Land's (R) Senate campaign, but the group “abruptly canceled the ads.”
The unspoken message wasn't subtle: the Kochs and their fellow financiers are going to have to start making investment decisions as Election Day draws closer, and if it looks like a race isn't going to go well for Republicans, the conservative benefactors will cut their losses. In Michigan, that apparently means the Kochs don't see Terri Lynn Land prevailing.
She's not the only one.
The political group linked to the conservative Koch brothers has canceled television ad time reserved in October for the race between Sen. Jeff Merkley and Republican challenger Monica Wehby.
Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis confirmed the decision Friday.
Politico reported Wednesday that Freedom Partners officials acknowledged the possibility of canceling October ads if polling didn't show Wehby making headway.
In fairness, it's worth noting that the Koch brothers' operation still has attack ads on the air in Oregon, going after Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) for a variety of perceived misdeeds, but it's now clear that Freedom Partners no longer sees Wehby as especially viable. As the race enters the final stretch, the Republican won't have the support she was hoping for.
There are, of course, other questions: Will the money just go back to whatever pot it sits in under a Koch rainbow? Or will it be spent in other races?
The idea that the Koch brothers are pulling back from Wehby's contest actually makes a certain amount of sense; again, Benen:
The Oregon contest was always considered a longshot for Republicans. The fact that Freedom Partners even bothered with this race at all was an example of misplaced ambition. If the Kochs were still optimistic about Oregon, Democrats would have real reason for panic ....
.... As we talked about last week, there's just no way to bluff – once ad buys are cancelled, it's obvious exactly what those who bought the ads are thinking. As the map starts to narrow, if you want to know exactly which races the insiders consider the most competitive, follow the money.
In truth, abandonment of the Land campaign is probably more significant.
Benen, Steve. "Koch brothers' network starts narrowing its 2014 sights". msnbc. September 8, 2014. msnbc.com. September 8, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/koch-brothers-network-starts-narrowing-its-2014-sights
'Flyover' Family Values
What is it? "Flyover country"? Is that the Palinism? You know, "Middle America"? "Family values"?
How about Iowa?
The political world spends a fair amount of time considering the role of low-information voters in an election. But what happens when the line between low-information voters and candidates is blurred?
Iowa is home to one of the nation's most competitive U.S. Senate races, and last night, the major party candidates – Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) – faced off in a lively televised debate. The Des Moines Register reported on some of the highlights.
[Ernst's] low point was "stubbornly pushing the claim that Obamacare cut Medicare benefits, an argument repeatedly debunked by nonpartisan fact checkers, and her confusion on a question about current 'job-killing' regulations, where she cited cap-and-trade, which is not law," [Kedron Bardwell, an associate professor of political science at Simpson College in Indianola] said.
[Dennis Goldford, a Drake University political scientist] said Ernst is "an excellent performer." "She looks right at the camera. She seems to radiate a certain kind of confidence," he said.
But Ernst didn't often say anything of substance, Goldford said.It ultimately comes down to whether or not it matters when candidates for statewide office have no idea what they're talking about.
(Benen)To the one, it is almost as if the Republicans have gone wholly capitalist; like product advertising, they seem to think they can say whatever they want, regardless of its truth or their awareness of falsehood, with impunity.
And it may well be that ignorance and lies are the values that Iowa voters respect.
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Because it's not just the Obamacare lie troubling Ernst's campaign. She is one of many Republicans who have taken on the, "I'm not a scientist" line, attempting to paint herself as unqualified to deal with environmental issues in order to dodge the question on the campaign trail. She aims to destroy Social Security according to the false assertion that the system will be bankrupt in twenty years. She has blamed a nonexistent federal policy (cap and trade) for raising the unemployment rate. She has tried to duck questions about her work to undermine women's health care by pointing out that her personhood bill failed; that is to say, Ernst argues that her attempt to outlaw abortion in such a manner as to also banish hormonal birth control and intra-uterine devices doesn't really count as an attempt, since the attempt failed—we can rest assured there are a number of people in Iowa's penal system who would appreciate the liberty of a similar defense. She denounces President Obama as a dictator because that's the in thing to do despite the fact that an American president largely paralyzed by legislative gridlock is one of the least effective "dictators" in history. She has denounced Medicaid recipients as "[having] no personal responsibility for their health", believes states can nullify the Constitution at will, and would have preferred a perpetual war in Iraq. Oh, right, she also calls on her military service as an appeal to authority in order to inform us that Saddam Hussein really did have significant weapons of mass destruction, though she cannot seem to exercise that expertise to tell us were they are or were. She's a conspiracy theorist pushing against Agenda 21. And apparently state Sen. Ernst still thinks the federal minimum wage is an upper limit.
To run down the line:
• It would not be so problematic to admit that one is not a scientist, and does not understand the science involved, except Ernst continues to attack on this front. Is ignorance justification for attack among Iowans and their strong American values?
• Social Security will operate in the red starting around 2033 if the government does absolutely nothing. Congress didn't let Social Security die in 1983; will they let it die starting in 2033? It's possible, but only if Americans elect enough Republicans who want that to happen. It's not so much a campaign promise as a service forecast.
• There is no cap and trade law. Period.
• It's one thing to say you stand with women on contraception access, as Ernst has. It is another entirely to say that after it is pointed out that you introduced a personhood bill to the state legislature. State Sen. Ernst is lying to Iowa voters.
• President Obama ranks among the worst "dictators", "socialist", and "communists" in history. How, though, does Ernst measure his dictatorial prowess? It's hard to tell, but apparently an American president becomes a dictator by not abdicating his constitutionally prescribed duties, refusing to surrender his constitutionally assigned powers.
• Demonizing those less economically fortunate than ourselves? It's a good thing state Sen. Ernst isn't touting her Christian faith ... er ... ah ... oh.
• Where are the WMD?
• Fringe conspiracy theories? Really? Local planning councils have more say over what happens in these United States than the U.N. Far more. But, really, how does a nonbinding resolution equal whatever the hell this conspiracy theory is trying to say? And if it's so godawful, what are these people going to do if Jeb Bush runs for president? After all, it was his father that signed the U.S. onto Agenda 21. Vocal congressional support came from Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12), Eliot Engel (D-NY19, now NY16), and Bill Broomfield (R-MI18). Seriously? When did the Democrats last put a 9/11 Truther on the ticket? (I mean, come on, I'm sure it happened, but who, where, and when?)
• State Sen. Ernst needs to demonstrate her comprehension that the federal minimum wage is, in fact, minimum bar; states are free to set their minimum wage in excess of the federal standard.
And if we stop to think about the magnitude of Ernst's errors, omissions, and lies, the question arises how Iowa voters wish to identify themselves. When Republicans tried to play up polarization with the whole "flyover country" and "Middle America" rhetoric of 2008, the big functional problem was that their representation of American and family values included tremendous dishonesty.
So here we have a candidate who is apparently clueless, belligerent, insistent, and dishonest, and at this point it would appear this is what Iowans prefer. Why? She's a Republican, and that, really, is all that matters.
Then again, Iowa could prove the preceding paragraph entirely wrong. But they are certainly welcome to identify themselves as a refuge of hatred and dishonesty. And it will make it easier for the rest of us by adding Iowa to the list of places in our fair land that people really should avoid for their own safety.
It should be noted that Ernst appreciates being compared to Sarah Palin. Indeed, she picked up another feather for her cap on that point:
[Dennis Goldford, a Drake University political scientist] said Ernst is "an excellent performer." "She looks right at the camera. She seems to radiate a certain kind of confidence," he said.
And that is damn near to Rich Lowry's drooling declaration of Palin's victory in the 2008 vice presidential debate.
How's that for an Iowa value? As long as she looks good on the screen, she's qualified. Isn't that setting the bar a little low? And would anyone really apply that standard to her male colleagues and opponents?
November is a-comin'.
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Benen, Steve. "When Senate candidates struggle with the basics". msnbc. September 29, 2014. msnbc.com. September 29, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/when-senate-candidates-struggle-the-basics
Real Clear Politics. "Iowa Senate — Ernst vs. Braley". 2014. RealClearPolitics.com. September 29, 2014. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/ia/iowa_senate_ernst_vs_braley-3990.html
Lowry, Rich. "Projecting through the screen". The Corner. October 3, 2008. NationalReview.com. September 29, 2014. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/171291/projecting-through-screen/rich-lowry
Ouch! Georgia Republican Hoisted by Own Petard Unjustly Victimized by Own Success
Georgia is a peculiar political corner, and while David Perdue is polling ahead of Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race, the Republican pitching himself as a job creator now faces the impact of a deposition in which he explained, "I spent most of my career doing that", and that meaning outsourcing.
During a controversial chapter in his record — a nine-month stint in 2002-03 as CEO of failed North Carolina textile manufacturer Pillowtex Corp. — Perdue said he was hired, at least in part, to cut costs by outsourcing manufacturing operations overseas. Perdue specialized throughout his career in finding low-cost manufacturing facilities and labor, usually in Asia.
During a July 2005 deposition, a transcript of which was provided to POLITICO, Perdue spoke at length about his role in Pillowtex’s collapse, which led to the loss of more than 7,600 jobs. Perdue was asked about his “experience with outsourcing,” and his response was blunt.
“Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that,” Perdue said, according to the 186-page transcript of his sworn testimony
The Georgia Republican then listed his career experience, much of which involved outsourcing.
“[At] Kurt Salmon Associates, some of my experience there was helping footwear companies develop the ability to import shoes from Asia, specifically Taiwan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Malaysia,” Perdue noted, referring to his 12 years working for that management consulting company that specialized in outsourcing manufacturing for apparel companies. Perdue eventually became a partner with the firm.
“Later with Haggar Corp. — sorry, with Gitano and Sara Lee, having lived there, I lived in Singapore with Gitano and in Hong Kong with Sara Lee — sourcing was my primary responsibility in both of those locations.”
Perdue added: “I dealt with companies from Japan westward all the way to Kenya and Lesotho in Africa, Dubai, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, all points west of Japan.” With the American consumer goods company Sara Lee, Perdue noted he built an Asia operation from the “ground up.”
(Bresnahan and Raju)
It seems a familiar punch line for Republicans: I'm a job creator ... overseas.
With a margin of just under two and a half points, which qualifies as a tossup race, the impact on Perdue's campaign remains to be seen, but this one might leave a mark.
Bresnahan, John and Manu Raju. "David Perdue: 'I spent most of my career' outsourcing". Politico. October 3, 2014. Politico.com. October 5, 2014. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/david-perdue-georgia-senate-race-2014-111589.html
So, Anyway ...
... how 'bout that "fangate"?
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Apparently, Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) refused to take the stage for over six minutes at the beginning of last night's debate because Charlie Crist was using an electric fan.
The Republican governor finally emerged at least six minutes late as flummoxed moderators struggled on live TV to figure out what to do with a bemused Crist standing solo on stage at Broward College ....
.... The sharp elbows started almost as soon as Scott walked out, looking rattled. His campaign contended "electronic" devices were not allowed in the debate. On stage, Scott went on offense quickly, but some of his supporters privately fretted the fan incident could be a defining and damaging moment for the incumbent in the final stretch of a close race.
(Caputo and Smith)
It's an interesting hair to split; typically prohibitions on "electronic devices" refer to some sort of computer or communications device to aid a candidate. But apparently an electric fan counts, to the Scott campaign, while things like lights and microphones don't. And before anyone rushes to split the hair again, consider the question of just how much damage Scott actually inflicted on himself, with moderators struggling to explain the situation to a crowd that simply laughed.
And then things got worse. Asked about the fan, Governor Scott tried to change his story:
Well I waited to see if he—'til we figured out if we figured out if he was going to show up. He said he was going to come to the, uh—uh, he said he was going to come to the debate. So why come out until he's ready?
Indeed, the Florida freshman wunderkind and Scott surrogate Sen. Marco Rubio (R) tried pushing the same line after the debate:
Well, as you saw Governor Scott say, it wasn't clear he was even going to show up. When I got here today for this debate, I was told that Charlie Crist was going to cancel the debate. Because unless there was a fan on that stage he would not come out. So I think that Governor Scott was waiting to see if Charlie would actually pull it off or not.
And this is the sort of excuse that makes no sense. Indeed, Governor Scott tried doubling down on his observably ridiculous excuse earlier today:
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Have you put the pieces together, yet?
Let us break it down, then:
• Governor Scott allegedly did not take the stage because he was unaware if Charlie Crist would show up, so he waited backstage while Crist waited for him onstage.
Ah, Florida ... what would we do without you?
Caputo, Marc. "Privately, Republicans/Rick Scott loyalists are telling me the moment he didn't go onstage over fangate was the moment he lost the election". Twitter. October 15, 2014. Twitter.com. October 16, 2014. https://twitter.com/MarcACaputo/status/522548345030848512
Caputo, Marc and Adam C. Smith. "'Fan' dispute overshadows sharp debate between Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott". Miami Herald. October 15, 2014. MiamiHerald.com. October 16, 2014. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/voters-guide/article2835621.html
evale72. "JUST IN tracking vid, Scott AGAIN says not sure if Crist would show". Twitter. October 16, 2014. Twitter.com. October 16, 2014. https://twitter.com/evale72/status/522755266690170880
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