Tag Archives: obama

Republican obstructionism delayed the 9/11 first responders aid bill

I have to disagree somewhat with Jeff’s last post blaming the Democrats as well as the Republicans for the failure to pass the bill. King was supposed to get enough Republican but couldn’t because they claimed the bill was a massive new entitlement program. They were going to kill the bill by attaching a poison pill, an amendment that would have prohibited any help at all going to any first responder who was not here legally.

I agree with those who say that any first responder, regardless of citizenship status, should get help. And the Republicans knew the Democrats would vote against such an odious amendment but they would use that vote to accuse them of giving millions to ‘illegals’ in sound bite driven campaign commercials.

It was really sleazy of the Republicans. King was diverting attention away from his failure to get Republican support by attaching amendments he knew the Democrats would reject. The Democrats finally got smart and forced the Republicans’ hand and called them out for their naked partisanship. Good for them.

In other news, some rightwing blogs and sites are walking quietly away from the bogus Laredo invasion fabrication, while the initiators are still sticking to their story. A post on the invasion appeared on redstate (link to google cache), but was disappeared by the powers that be. If you click on the link to the current page, you are directed to new posts. Maybe this is why they are so hostile to google at that site.

It’s another sign, along with the banning of the birfers, that redstate is trying desperately to overcome Erickson’s comparison of White House health care spox Linda Douglass to Goebbels and the unfortunate tweet in which he called Supreme Court Justice Souter a ‘goat fucking child molester.’

My guess is that they still have work to do in that regard.

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Teabagger Backlash: ad demands Fiorina denounce the ‘tea party’

by John

Crooks and Liars has a piece up about a Brave New Films release:

The scary music at the end might be a bit much, but it’s a very effective ad. More like this, please.

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Teabaggers vs the NAACP: jumping the hooded shark

While I’ve been predicting the teabaggers would come undone this summer, I thought it would mainly be over immigration. I think there’s still time for that, this reaction to the NAACP statement was unexpected:

Tea Party Leader Condemns NAACP For Making ‘More Money Off Of Race Than Any Slave Trader Ever’
WILLIAMS: You’re dealing with people who are professional race baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history. [emphasis in original]

Palin called the NAACP move ‘regressive.’

This will further endear Palin and the teabagger leaders to their base, but it won’t do much for their standing with the rest of the country.

At redstate, a site which quickly and shamelessly bans commenters who deviate from the party line and erases comments the mods find particularly bothersome with wanton abandon, a very racist comment has been allowed to stand in two threads, with the only complaint being that it was posted almost verbatim on the two threads. Here’s an excerpt and a link:

Is someone a racist because they think Western Civilization is superior to African Civilization? Is that same person “racist” because they can point out that Africans is less intelligent than whites or Asians? Is one racist because they point out that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime? Is a white woman “racist” when she is afraid to walk her dog in a black neighborhood? I, and the vast majority of white Americans agree with me, do not consider myself “racist” because I have such opinions. Perhaps then the label of “racist” is a good attribute and not a bad in the minds of the vast majority of the public subjected to these daily calumnies.

People like this believe that it you’re not an active member of the KKK and you don’t shout the n-word at people, or at least don’t do so very frequently, then you, by definition, cannot be a racist. Needless to say, most people have somewhat different views on the matter.

Many rightwing republican commenters at sites such as redstate and even blogs like The Plumline make the claim that they have been called racist so many times that they are inure, of even consider it a badge of honor or evidence that they have won a debate. Many also seem to crave having the subject of race and racism brouhgt to the fore of our national discourse. They think they will defeat the ‘race hustlers’ like the NAACP.

They are wrong. They are so caught up in their echo chamber that they don’t realize how unpopular their views are with the vast majority of Americans. The same vast majority of Americans who will not be associated with the racial animosity and bigotry exhibited by these reactions to the NAACP statement.

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Barber and the ghosts of Washington Post op-eds past: why the old media deserves to die

At a time when a majority of respondents apparently believe Obama is a socialist, the Washington Post decided that it would be a good idea to give column space to a crazy, quasi insurrectionist whackadoodle Alabama congressional candidate best known nationally for cheezy commercials featuring himself in flustered conversations with bad actors portraying the founding fathers — ‘gather your armies’ — and another one in which he talks to an actor portraying Lincoln and equating paying taxes to being held in slavery.

Steve Benin notes the ridiculousness of it all:

Today, Barber has an op-ed in the Washington Post, defending the “politics of fear,” and rationalizing his hatred for America’s leadership.

Over the past 18 months, the federal government has sought to seize or has seized control of the health-care industry, the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the automobile industry, student loans, broadband Internet and the energy sector through cap-and-trade legislation.

If this were true, it might help shed some light on why right-wing activists like Barber are so hysterical. But here’s the thing: these complaints are gibberish. His indictment of the government is based on observations with no foundation in reality.

The federal government hasn’t “seized control” of the health care industry — it approved modest reforms of a dysfunctional system, the kind of reforms many Republicans supported up until very recently, while leaving private control intact. The federal government didn’t “seize control” of the financial industry — the Bush administration bailed out the industry to prevent an economic collapse, and Democrats approved some new safeguards to protect consumers, but left private enterprise in private hands.

And on and on. The mortgage industry has not been nationalized. The automobile industry was rescued, is paying the taxpayers back, and will return to private control. The government was subsidizing student loans anyway, we just ended needless and expensive taxpayer-financed giveaways to banks. The Internet and the energy sector are no closer to government ownership than they were before.

In other words, given a high-profile platform, Rick Barber’s case against the Obama administration and congressional Democrats is patently ridiculous for anyone who takes reality seriously. These aren’t subjective questions, judgment calls, or matters of opinion — the observations he states as fact are demonstrably false.

Which leads to the obvious questions: why on earth is the Washington Post publishing an op-ed with claims the editors surely know to be wrong? How does it inform the newspaper’s readers to present them with delusional assertions with no basis in fact? [Emphasis added]

When people talk about how much poorer the world will be when these dinosaurs finally go extinct, remember decisions like this.

Leave aside the normal rightwing game of telephone that is the Washington Post opinion section; what good does giving this hysterical loon possibly do?

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Is there a coming rightwing and Fox ‘News’ tipping point over being all anti obama, all the time?

Update: Greg Sargent at Plumline notes that even Joe Scarborough presses Cantor over Barton keeping his job. Scarborough is pretty forthright in questioning Cantor and even uses somewhat harsh, for morning tv, language:

I’ve written before that I have very little respect for Scarborough, and he’s only criticizing Cantor over Barton because it’s bad for his party, but at least he’s facing reality.

Original post: Yesterday, Fox ‘News’ morning host Gretchen Carlson announced that, while ‘presidenting is hard,’ hosting a tv show is just as tough.

Media Matters Eric Boehlert asks whether Fox is approaching a tipping point over its attacks on Obama over seemingly every single thing, including the Gulf oil spill, which is inducing it into a full throated, though highly unpopular, defense of the multi national oil corporation that is threatening the region’s habitats and economies for generations to come:

Fox News is programmed for Obama dead-enders, that much is clear. They’re the radical minority of political hyper-partisans who hold as a matter of faith that Obama is a Manchurian candidate. It’s not just that Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t truly of this country, or culture, and that his policies are misguided and wrong for America. It runs much deeper. It’s that Obama ran for the Oval Office with the explicit plan to ruin America from within once he was elected. He ran for president in order to destroy this country by stripping it of its freedoms and liberties and transforming the United States into some sort of socialist or communist outpost.

That’s how far out on the ledge Fox News now operates. And FYI, if you view the world from that demented perspective, it probably does look like BP got jobbed. (Just like of course the Clinton White House sold nuclear secrets to China during the `90s; Democratic presidents are a treasonous bunch.)

As I said, the dead-enders represent a radical minority. And yet they have an entire right-wing media complex set up explicitly to whet their Obama-hating appetite. There is no thought put into the rhetoric anymore, or their partisan jousting. Instead, the content revolves around a very simple premise: If Obama did it, it’s wrong. Not just wrong. More like, if Obama did it, it’s evil and dangerous and ghastly and un-American.

So the stimulus bill was evil and un-American. Bailing out GM and Chrysler was evil and un-American. Passing health care reform, of course, was evil and un-America.

But securing $20 billion from BP to pay for the cleanup and to compensate working Americans for the damage done to their livelihoods. That was evil and un-American?

According to Fox News it was.

Joe Barton, Rand Paul and Sharon Angle are at the vanguard of the rigthwing Republican meltdown. Even now, in summer when most people don’t pay much attention to politics, especially in a midterm year, they are getting unfavorable attention and their numbers are suffering, although Barton appears to be in no real danger. But it’s not just their own numbers and images that are being hurt by their extremism, hence their exile to media Siberia.

But as the elections near and immigration reform is variously brought to the fore of pubic discourse, the rightwing Republicans face a tough dilemma. They not only need to continue stoking their extremist base, they are on audio and video tape doing so in the past. They also need to appeal to more moderate voters who are repulsed by what they see as dangerous demagoguery.

The appeals the rightwing Republicans need to make to the two different demographics are mutually exclusive: as they cater to one group, they anger and repel the other.

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And now begins the birther summer

The still prevailing narrative is that Democrats will suffer great losses in the fall and Republicans might take over the house and make strong gains in the Senate, even if they might not win both houses. This narrative has been the conventional wisdom for months now and, while it has been getting push back for awhile, it still qualifies for the title of conventional wisdom.

For months, I’ve been writing and saying that I think this is overblown. Yes, historical trends favor the Republicans as the out of power party in the first midterm election. Yes, the birfer/teabagger brigades are vocal and enthused. Yes, the economy is not yet fully recovered. Yes, there is a general feeling of anti incumbency and there are more Democratic incumbents than Republican incumbents. And yes, many progressives and Democrats are less pumped than in 2008.

But I don’t think it’s going to be as bad for the Democrats and progressives as the prevailing narrative is predicting. They will probably lose seats in both houses; but I doubt they’ll lose either of their majorities.

Despite efforts to tamp it down, there will be a civil war on the right. There was a minor freak out yesterday over the fact that a muslim Arab-American won a beauty pageant. It was a tempest in a teapot, but it was still illustrative of the nativist racism that animates so much of the animosity of the birfer/teabaggers.

Even if congress doesn’t act on it, immigration and immigration reform will be part of the debate. This is bad for rightwingers and Republicans because, not only does it alienate latinos and other immigrant groups as well as young people generally, it encourages loony rhetoric, especially from the types of older white people who like to complain in public about their liberties and country being taken away from them and how they, as older white christians, are the most persecuted group in America today.

That’s not exactly a formula for victory for the rightwing Republicans. The leadership knows this, but the base is clueless about their lack of broad appeal.

The base is largely isolated. They watch Fox, listen to talk radio, visit far right sites and mainly only talk politics to people who agree with them. The vastly overestimate the popularity of their views. But, fueled by this misapprehension regarding how many people share their beliefs and prejudices, they are ready to let their freak flag fly.

Like the apocryphal American tourist who shouts louder and more slowly when confronted with people who don’t speak English, the birfer/teabaggers, who are just the far right segment of the rightwing Republicans with new names, become louder and more shrill when they see their message isn’t getting the widespread approval they were so sure it would.

If you thought last summer’s ‘town hall’ meetings featured petulant, whiny baby boomers, wait till this summer. There will be rallies and protests galore. And the anger of the birfer/teabaggers will be directed just as much at the rightwing Republican leadership as at the Democrats, progressives, liberals, immigrants, young people, etc, etc…

When they encounter negative public reaction to their extremism, they will blame the leadership for ‘pulling punches.’ They will get more extreme and the leadership, becoming more and more afraid of their prospects in the general, will pull further and further away. Each factions’ actions will fuel the other’s reactions and it will get increasingly ugly.

And many of their potential supporters will either vote for Democrats or stay home.

Then, after the Republicans under perform, the leadership will blame the extremism of the base and the base will blame the punch pulling of the leadership. The disarray could last until after the 2012 elections.

Now, this could of course be overly optimistic. What if the Republicans do better than I predict, even perhaps taking the House?

I’d still think the base, and in this case the leadership as well, would take the wrong message. They would feel empowered and run to the right in 2012, which, I’d contend, would be a mistake.

Basically, I believe the rightwing Republicans created a monster when they ramped up their fringe base. Whether it’s sooner or later, there will be a backlash against the extremism. When — and whether — that actually happens remains to be seen. But I predict it will come sooner rather than later and that this summer will set off the backlash.

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Predictions and threats of violence are increasingly frequent in rightwing discourse

The usual chest thumpers at redstate are all in, calling everyone to the left of Dubya “evil,” comparing Obama to a tyrant and predicting blood:

The Difference Between Them and Us
Obama as King George III or There will be blood [updated]
Mike DeVine’s Rule of Blood, Munich and the Rule of Law, and the Hanging of Jake Spoon

And Think Progress has this from the Heritage Foundation. After Cantor finished a speech attacking Obama over the failed Times Square car bomb, a questioner asks him why Obama shouldn’t be called a ‘domestic enemy.’ Here’s the transcript and video, both via Think Progress [emphasis in original]:

QUESTION: My question is – and this is something I personally don’t understand – if it’s a naïve question then I apologize: in light of what Obama has done to leave us vulnerable, to cut defense spending, to make us vulnerable to outside enemies, and to slight our allies, how (pause) – what would he have to do differently to be defined as a domestic enemy? (applause)

CANTOR: Listen, let me respond very forthright to that: you know, no one thinks the President is a domestic enemy. (boos)

Cantor is a savvy politician and, to his credit, he denies that the label is appropriate. But he doesn’t do so until after he laughs at the suggestion that Obama should be called a “domestic enemy” and lets his smile linger while the crowd laughs along.

Then they boo him for saying that the democratically elected president should not be called an enemy of the country. Had this exchange not been in front of cameras, do you think he would have just stuck with his first instinct?

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The unbearable whiteness of being (a right wing Republican)

Rightwingers and many Republicans will tell you that what you’re about to read proves that I, and all people on the left, are the real racists.

It’s a classic technique but it’s transparent and laughably ineffective for all who aren’t dazed by the echo chamber.

In countless situations online and in person, people who point out possible, let alone blatant, racist speech or behavior coming from the right are accused of “playing the race card,” “exploiting racial politics,” and even of keeping non whites “on the plantation.”

But take a look at photos and videos from the “tea party” rallies. Look at pictures and video from the campaign, especially the Palin only rallies. Remember this guy?

Ron Brownstein at The National Journal Magazine notes the increasingly “monochromatic” nature of the rightwing Republican coallition [emphasis added]:

Amid drug violence in Mexico and high unemployment in the U.S., concern about controlling the borders is understandable. But the hardening GOP position also shows how the party is being tugged toward nativism as its coalition grows more monochromatic: In a nation that is more than one-third minority, nearly 90 percent of McCain’s votes in the 2008 presidential election came from whites. That exclusionary posture could expose the GOP to long-term political danger. Although Hispanics are now one-sixth of the U.S. population, they constitute one-fifth of all 10-year-olds and one-fourth of 1-year-olds. The larger threat is to America’s social cohesion. Democrats, with their own divisions, can’t reform the immigration system alone. Either both parties will accept that responsibility or the nation will likely suffer through years of sharpening social division symbolized by the escalating battle over Arizona.

As even Michael Steele acknowledged, the Republicans have been tapping into white anger, beginning in the sourth with Nixon’s “southern strategy” and migrating to other parts of the country when possible over the last five decades.

They have stoked and taken electoral advantage of reactionary nativist fears spurred by broad societal changes. For years it worked according to plan: the Republicans got their votes but kept the less savory elements of the demographic group now called “tea partiers” at arm’s length.

Not any more.

As the rise of Sarah Palin and Charlie Crist’s story demonstrate, the radicals have taken over the party. Whatever happens with the immigration reform debate this year, things are going to get much, much worse for the increasingly fragile Republican coallition.

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Arizona brings immigration reform back to the front burner

[Updated below]

I’ll resume regular posting, two to four times a week.

Aside from travel and school stuff, I’ve been distracted by the reaction to this video I shot of my mayor questioning Obama’s citizenship at a local ‘tea party’ rally. The rally was in a public park of course and many of the attendees looked like they are drawing social security and medicare checks, but they sure hate government. Except that one of the organizers called 911 on me for filming. She said they ‘rented the park’ and had the authority to kick me out.

A police captain set her straight, but it nicely demonstrates their authoritarian mentality.

As this post at Think Progress notes, the people who attend these rallies, aside from being mostly older white far right Republicans, also support the incredibly intrusive Big Brother ‘show me your papers’ Arizona law:

Not only are Tea Partiers not speaking out against SB-1070, they’re actively supporting it. The Arizona Tea Party Network called on its members to support Brewer’s big government. In fact, the sponsor of SB-1070 is state Sen. Russell Pearce (R), a Tea Party backer.

Why are they so supportive of Big Government in this case? The Think Progress post quotes a University of Washington study sheds some light on the attitudes toward people who are, unsurprisingly, vastly unrepresented at their rallies:

For instance, the Tea Party, the grassroots movement committed to reining in what they perceive as big government, and fiscal irresponsibility, also appear predisposed to intolerance. Approximately 45% of Whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy. Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different. While 54% of White Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them intelligent, and even fewer, 42% of Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy. When it comes to gays and lesbians, White Tea Party supporters also hold negative attitudes. Only 36% think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17% are in favor of same-sex marriage.

Update: Redstate blog, whose head honcho is best know for calling former supreme court justice David Souter a “goat fucking child molester,’ has this up today about how congressional black congress members and civil rights movement heroes were, y’know, lying about ‘tea partiers’ calling them n!gg4r and otherwise abusing them. Hey, if it wasn’t caught on video, then it could not have happened, right?

Bolding mine: yes, you can see for yourself. Why? Because people brought cameras*. Otherwise, this wouldn’t have gotten challenged, and the Democrats wouldn’t be trying to hide from this story right now. And no, this is not something that people should just move on from, either. We can move on after the Members of Congress involved either publicly retract their accusations, or else prove them.

This is just one more way the ‘tea partiers’ are proving how moderate and inclusive they are. It’s just that all the non white, younger, non far right Republicans — who totally, totally exist and who support the ‘tea party agenda’ — for some reason don’t seem to be able to make it to the rallies. Maybe it’s all the angry white people with guns…

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Redstate’s Erickson: threats of violence are bad, but not really that big a deal and Democrats deserve them anyway

[This post has been edited to correct the spelling of Eric Cantor’s name.]

This could be the beginning of the rightwing meltdown.

If King George Will Not Listen . . .

This is one of those posts that has to be written and has to be said, though I know going in to it I’m going to get beaten up from all sides, though especially from a left particularly out to get me right now.

Nonetheless, this must be said.

The threats, potential acts of violence, and violence against those who voted for the health care legislation must be condemned. They are neither helpful to those seeking repeal nor the acts of a civilized society. I comfortably say I speak for all the front page posters here condemning the violence and threats. The people who think this country has descended into the darkness do in fact send us down a dark path themselves with these actions.

…snip…

I’ve said for weeks I was a bit fearful of what would happen as a result. I sincerely pray we are not on the cusp of some group of angry and now unhinged mob lashing out at congressmen for a vote in the Congress. But something seems to be brewing and I frankly don’t think the Democrats should at all be surprised. They were and they knew they were playing with fire to advance legislation many Americans see as the undoing of the American Experiment. Some of those Americans will now conclude that, like with the founders, if King George will not listen, King George must be fought. [emphasis added]

In a sane political environment, this could be the beginning of a rightwing meltdown. But, in our current politics, it’s probably not. How many Republican party officials will condemn this?

I’d be surprised if one did. Cantor is supposed to speak on the violence in a couple of hours today — will he be called, or feel compelled, to comment on this disgusting post?

This mealy mouthed cowardly condemnation of violence in one weak breath followed by full throated expressions of support and understanding of the violent impulses is exactly what too many on the right think they can get away with.

They cannot.

They can also not get away with claiming Rep Lewis lied about being the recipient of our most vile racial epithet. They are on record and will pay the price for cozying up to violent extremists in the court of public opinion and at the ballot box.

Erickson is explaining away, and in so doing, condoning and supporting political violence. Now and forever, he owns this.

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