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And so it begins: rightwingers threaten violence and assassination

As predicted, the rightwingers are threatening violence and making death threats.

And some Republicans are playing along.

Democrats are pushing back and the violent rhetoric is being archived. But the threats and incitement escalate, not diminish up to and beyond the elections in November.

[Via TPM] House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters he believed over 10 lawmakers have been threatened since they voted for the health care bill on Sunday.

Appearing before reporters alongside House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Hoyer expressed concern about the recent spat of incidents targeting lawmakers, and blamed the violent rhetoric surrounding the health care debate for creating a potentially dangerous atmosphere.

And there will be more acts of domestic rightwing terrorism.

Immigration reform will cause the rightwingers and Republicans to descend once again into deep ritual outrage before the elections.

Because of the cumulative effect of seeing Obama enact more and more of the agenda he campaigned and won on, but also due to deep seated racial, ethnic and cultural anxieties, the coming debate over immigration reform might be even uglier and more extreme than the hcr debate.

The prevailing opinion is that the only question regarding the 2010 midterms is over the level of Democratic defeat and whether or not they’ll even lose their House majority. But we are really in unprecedented territory in our national political debate.

I and others have written before about the trouble the Republicans have set themselves up for by unleashing and pandering to — and even becoming — the most extreme fringe of their coalition.

They have two bad choices:

  1. continue pandering to the extremists, even as threats of violence and perhaps even murder turn into actual deeds and even as the extremists engage in vile and retrograde racist discourse in the immigration reform debate
  2. emulate WF Buckley and kick the kooks to the curb

If they pick option 1, they will alienate more and more potential supporters and greatly increase the likelihood that they will become little more than a southern and mountain west based party made up of angry and largely willfully ignorant old white people.

If they pick option 2, they will further infuriate their perpetually outraged base of extremists who will either stay home and close their wallets or even, although this seems highly unlikely, support a third party.

I think the most likely strategy will be to try to deny the dilemma and walk a line between the options I propose. But I think they will not succeed and will only get the worst outcomes from both options.

Most of the Republicans will be circumspect in their in their criticism of the ugly naked racism, the paranoia, and the blatant threats — and actual instances — of violence that will unfold before the election. They will tut-tut and harrumph and denounce the loss of civility that Obama has forced them into by his “totalitarian tactics” of using the democratic process to get elected and then pass (some of) his advertized agenda.

But they will not fully denounce most of these people or their actions and deeds.

This will cause huge numbers of voters who might otherwise consider supporting them to back away from the Republican party.

However, the Republicans will criticize and even cut loose some of the fringiest of the base. They will also fail to meaningfully and credibly maintain their current pose of complete repeal of hcr. Further, they will fail to support the base’s position of solely putting forth complete lack of cooperation regarding immigration reform.

The base will not be amused. They will talk of betrayal of primary campaign promises and will swear vengance on the “rinos” and “squishes” that most of them will come to believe their candidates are once the candidates try to moderate their rhetoric in the general election campaign.

As with McCain in 2008, this agitprop will cause the Republicans to veer erratically between extremist and center right positions, which will make them appear reckless and unready.

I certainly wouldn’t say it’s probable, but the continuing and escalating extreme rhetoric and behavior by rightwingers in the coming months, and Republican failure to make full throated denunciations of them, might make it increasingly possible that the Democrats could even pick up seats in November.

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Birthers, Bunning and Birchers: how rightwing Republicans are setting themselves up to fail

There has been no shortage recently of Republicans concern trolling for the electoral future of Democrats. As Steven Benen notes, the Republicans are so sure that passage would be a disaster for their opposition, they’ve been working furiously to make it happen. Uh huh.

Dave Weigel writes about McCain’s birther gambit against an opponent that should never have been a problem for the former presidential nominee. As he notes, despite rightwing Republican protestations that it will not be effective, Democrats and allies are poised to use this and similar fringe issues and conspiracy theories as a wedge from now till November.

The strategy is to force Republican candidates to choose between their extremist base, who views the conspiracy as undebatable gospel, and potential independent supporters, who largely run away from the slightest hint of such fringe notions.

Bunning is receiving accolades at redstate for, with the help of other rightwing Republicans, furloughing thousands of workers and cutting off unemployment relief for hundreds of thousands of Americans. While the Sunday morning pharisees would rather gossip about the WH social director, this is an issue that will not help the Republicans at the voting booth.

Last, Rachel Maddow notes that the Birchers were not only in attendance at CPAC, they were actually sponsors of the annual rightwing pilgrimage. Nearly five decades after WF Buckley exiled them, they are being welcomed back into the rightwing complex with open arms.

Much has been made of the short memory of the American electorate recently, usually in the course of concern trolling advising Democrats not to even mention anything that happened from Jan 2001 to Jan 2009. I think most of this is just plain wrong if not outright disingenuous hot air.

Every time Cheney snorts in public, rational Republicans cringe. I know that’s an increasingly small subset of the party, but that’s my point.

By Scozzafavaing anyone who doesn’t toe the birther-bunning-bircher line, and toe it with gusto, the rightwingers and Republicans are walking into more election outcomes like NY23 than like Scott Brown’s unusual victory in Massachusetts.

If the American electorate truly does have a short memory span, then the drawn out, boring debate over hcr might be reduced to two images:

  1. histrionic middle aged white people shouting about socialism, ‘government interference’ in social security and medicaid/medicare, and birth certificates
  2. representative samples of the millions of people who were uncovered before Obama signed the bill expressing untold relief that they will not have to die to ensure the profits of the health insurance industry

What will be fresh in their minds’ eyes as they enter the voting booths will be the bloody infighting fueled by the birther-Bunning-bircher troika and whatever other nuttiness the rightwingers decide to put on display between now and November.

Is there any doubt that, feeling emboldened, they will really let their freak flags fly in the coming months?

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Rationalizing hypocrisy and bad ideas: how to remind voters why they rejected the Republicans

The recent take downs of Palin and Limbaugh for their hypocrisy of use of the term “retard” are good models for how to counter such illogical positions. Colbert’s dissection of the double standard from last night’s show is one of the better ones I’ve seen.

The same is true for the weird rightwing jab that Obama is somehow dependent on teleprompters. This is gold for the committed rightwingers but leaves everybody else shaking their heads. Of course, Palin’s use of note cards during the speech and palm reading during the pre vetted Q&A session makes the hypocrisy even more evident, as does the defense of Palin for doing so.

Below are two examples of defense of these double standards from the commenters at redstate. Note that they seem completely oblivious to the cognitive dissonance they engage in. That is an artifact of hyper partisan speech that has completely left rationality behind.

But, while they might not see their own hypocrisy, it is glaringly obvious not only to those on the left, but also to any one who is not already a committed Obama hater mired in reactionary groupthink. The Dems need to remind independents of what they will be in store for if they vote for the current slate of rightwing Republicans as a means of protest.

They also need to remind them that, along with all the usual hypocrisy, come ideas like privatizing social security, ending medicare and declaring war on Iran.

Here are some redstaters defending Palin’s use of crib notes and giving Limbaugh a pass on the use of “retard.” Although it has to be said that not everyone over there is enamored of Palin and the author of this post criticized Palin’s hypocrisy over use of term, labeling his post “Sarah blew it,” which drew these as the first two comments:

you are WRONG, she answered him perfectly on that question….
JadedByPolitics Tuesday, February 9th at 5:11AM EST (link)
because Rush was doing it satirically did you hear him or did you pick up your talking points from Media Matters? BTW when you live by the PC code you will die by the PC and that is what she made Rahm do and for that she is CORRECT!

I suspect in a debate with The idiot and his Teleprompter she and her palm would SMACK him around. Sarah Palin hit is out of the park in the past week at advancing Conservative Values as she had the entirety of the LEFTIST media watching her every word and of course then there are those like YOU who want to batter her as well but so be it because she is STILL STANDING and what she is saying is gaining traction in America and when the populace likes what they hear they vote OUT Democrats!

Without his TOTUS Obambi is a bumbling idiot
nessa Tuesday, February 9th at 5:19AM EST (link)
he is barely capable with the damn thing. Soon it will be whispering in his ear so he doesn’t screw up corpsman or some other equally difficult word. The tingler and the rest of the lame stream media praise his ability as an orator, but like the rest of obambi’s history, there is nothing to back that up. An orator can speak without the TOTUS, Obambi is reduced to a mumbling idiot without his. I’d rather write an entire speech on my hand than rely upon the TOTUS and the words of the man behind the curtain that feed the great and powerful Oz.

Again, their double standard is invisible to them but is shockingly obvious to everyone else. We need to remind voters that this hypocrisy is not just a fodder for jokes but is emblematic of their entire approach to governing and campaigning.

For a while the Party of No was a good counter to the rightwing Republicans. We should now change that to the Party of Hypocrisy. These issues will stick in people’s mind and make it that much easier for them to see the hypocrisy that is so rife in so much else of what the rightwingers and Republicans preach to the rest of us.

An added benefit is that, as is seen on this thread and elsewhere, such blatant adherence to double standards also drives a wedge between various factions even of the redstate community. This is even more true of the broader rightwing Republican coalition.

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Hayworth a birther and O’Keefe a Liddy wannabe

[Updated with Hayworth video and correction that he referred to “football and youth sports,” not little league baseball.]

As if to prove that Democrats are not the only ones capable of self destructive behavior, two darlings of the far right seem to have stepped in it.

First, McCain’s new challenger for the right, JD Hayworth, just came out as a birther on Hardball. Video and transcripts as they become available but the heart of the money quote is:

We had to show our birth certificates to play little league baseball. Why can’t the president show his?

That will pump up the base but is also, along with Rubio’s strong showing in polls against Crist, is the opening shot in the upcoming, and soon to be very bloody, rightwing Republican civil war.

[Scroll to bottom for video and transcripts from ThinkProgress.]

Second, James O’Keefe, the videographer who passed of the questionable ACORN videos over the summer, is facing felony charges and up to 10 years in the federal penitentiary for trying to bug LA Sen Landrieu’s phones.

NEW ORLEANS — A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four people arrested by the FBI and accused of trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

Along with the upcoming internecine teabagger fights and that looming civil war, the rightwingers and Republicans are going to make the Democrats and Obama seem much better. I’ve written before that I think the spring and summer internal battles will make the worst of the Palin rallies pale by comparison.

And, by contrast, Obama’s calm coolness might just start to pay dividends. As long as they don’t fall dead center on their swords over health care reform.

Update: ThinkProgress has video and transcripts:

[Via ThinkProgress]MATTHEWS: Are you as far right as the birthers? Are you one of those who believes that the President should have to prove that he’s a citizen of the United States and not an illegal immigrant? Are you that far right?

HAYWORTH: Well, gosh, we all had to bring our birth certificates to show we were who we said we were and we were the age we said we were to play football and youth sports. Shouldn’t we know exactly that anyone who wants to run for public office is a natural born citizen of the United States and is who they say they are? […]

MATTHEWS: Should the Governor of Hawaii produce evidence that the President is one of us, an American? Do you think that’s a worthy past time for the Governor of Hawaii?

HAYWORTH: No, look…I’m just saying the President should come forward with the information, that’s all. Why should we we depend on the Governor of Hawaii?

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Haiti, hate and scary willful ignorance

[Updated to acknowledge that Brzezinski might have been jokingly proposing what Palin also might have said. Thanks to reader Brienne.]

Light posting this week for a variety of reasons.

The Red Cross has a text donation option that automatically adds $10 to your phone bill. Text “Haiti” to 90999.

Pat Robertson is typically demented in his response to Haiti. What kind of person sees this and blames the victims for a supposed ‘deal with the devil’ their ancestors supposedly made? His dementia is sad but the number of people who believe he has a direct line to god is truly scary.

Rush Limbaugh is concerned that Obama will benefit from the Haitian tragedy. But remember, allegations that he is racist are absurd smears propagated by the left wing media.

Sarah Palin revamps the “all of them” answer in response to a gotcha question from that noted left wing radical Glenn Beck about who her favorite founding father is. TPM notes that as the crew of Morning Joe joked about her flailing answer, Mika Brzezinski says her favorite founding father is Lincoln. Really.

[Update: But reader Brienne notes in the comments that Brzezinski might have been mocking a possible Palin answer rather than reflecting her own sentiment. Although, it was in an exchange when the others were naming their favorite founding fathers, so the conclusion that Brzezinski was also listing her particular favorite also seems plausible. Please watch and add your interpretations.]

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Narrative of new Republican revolution probably peaking too early

I’ve been writing that I think the chatter of a coming Democratic doomsday is not likely to actually come to pass. The Republicans and rightwingers are hugely overconfident. They are emboldened and are getting set to let their freak flag fly even while they are heading into primaries and other internal fights that are going to be very unseemly and public and that will also cost them a lot of blood.

They will almost certainly move even further to the right, thinking they need to ramp up the tantrums of August and treat the entire country to NY-23 redux. If the extremists win the bloody infighting that will be prelude to November, then independents will turn away in droves.

If the preferred candidates of the Republican party ‘elites’ and ‘establishment’ survive the circular firing squads of spring and summer, the extremist base will be angry and disillusioned and just might, perhaps in several races, support third party candidates that will in fact serve up a repeat of NY-23.

The redstaters are very busy patting themselves on the back over Sens Dorgen’s and Dodd’s announcements of retirement as well as Republican’s prospects next November, with only one advocating caution.

Greg Sargent, differentiating between the comparative number of retirements from each party and the chances of the Dems keeping a senate super majority, notes that more Republicans than Democrats are retiring.

Eric Kleefeld at TPM, along with others but not the rightwing true believers, notes that the the Democrat likely to run for Dodd’s seat, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, is way ahead of any Republican.

Republicans still aren’t offering much substance

[from Politico via The Washington Monthly] “You are saying someone should be held accountable. Name one other specific recommendation the president could implement right now to fix this,” host George Stephanopoulos said to King.

“I think one main thing would be to — just himself to use the word terrorism more often,” said King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.

This charge is not only exceedingly silly, it’s demonstrably untrue.

And their internal conflicts are just heating up, especially in the Texas governor’s race, the Florida senate race and the primary for a Republican challenge to Barbara Boxer.

The funding numbers aren’t looking good for the Republicans and even Michael Steele is cautious about regaining majorities.

One Minnesota Republican says Democrats are worse than terrorists and another thinks it’s a good idea to call Obama “an arrogant black man.”

These are not the actions of a party that is in fact on the brink of a resurgence.

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Blaming Obama for Xmas attack will backfire on rightwingers and Republicans

Recently, former George Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino claimed, incredibly, that no terrorist attacks occurred during the Bush administration. She made the astounding comment while blaming Obama for the Ft Hood shooting. More recently, Republican strategist Mary Matelin claimed that the Bush administration “inherited” 9/11 from Bill Clinton.

Now, in the wake of the attempted Christmas plane bombing, far too many Republicans and rightwingers are at it again. Only hours after the incident, Republicans and others were busily trying to gain partisan advantage on the back of the averted tragedy.

Republicans and rightwingers are so tone deaf, and now so over confident as well, that they are the only institution on the face of the planet that can make the Democrats seem reasoned and responsible. Together with their reactionary general obstructionism and their absolutist opposition to health care reform, their naked and cringe inducing partisanship in response to this attempted attack will hurt them greatly.

They will not see the gains they are expecting next November, gains any rational party would be able to put in the bank. Instead, voters will, in significant numbers, turn away from their clownish buffoonery and poison politics.

Sadly, this continuing Republican and rightwing clownishness might lessen the need for Democrats to improve their own lackluster performance.

Update: Crooks and Liars has video of Rove joining the party.

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