Tag Archives: washington monthly

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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Scott Brown sympathizes with the IRS plane bomber’s motives [Update: Babbin jokes about attack]

[Updates below]

TPM, Digby and Steve Benen, among many others, are noting that Scott Brown, newly elected to the senate by the people of Massachusetts in their wisdom, can understand what can motivate a person to fly a plane into an IRS office (via Digby):

CAVUTO: We have a guy who is just ranting at the system, ranting at the IRS, ranting at big government, the need for health care, not the need for unions – I mean really crazy stuff. I would just be curious of your reaction to all that.

SCOTT BROWN: Well It’ s certainly tragic and I feel for the families obviously that are being effected by it. And I don’t know if its related but I can just sense not only in my election but since being here in Washington people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things effecting their daily lives. So I am not sure if there is a connection, I certainly hope not, but we need to do things better.

One thing I certainly agree with Massachusetts’ new senator on is that, yes, we need to do better.

Update: TPM has video of Human Events editor Jed Babbin joking at CPAC about Grover Norquest possibly being the suicide pilot and getting laughs from the rightwing attendees (via TPM):

“And let me just say, I’m really happy to see Grover today,” said Babbin. “He was getting a little testy in the past couple of weeks. And I was just really, really glad that it was not him identified as flying that airplane into the IRS building.”

How do you engage with people who engage in this kind of discourse and do so in public in an avowed attempt to win people to their cause?

Update II: A regular and frequent commenter makes the following joke and the admins at redstate don’t have a problem with leaving it on their site. Redstate is notorious for quickly criticizing heresy, even banning commenter heretics and sometimes even erasing the offending comments. We can take this comment’s persistence to indicate tacit support or at least lack of strong disagreement:

Sounds like he could have been but he forgot
Richard Mullins Saturday, February 20th at 10:39AM EST (link)
to place his application. I’m still pissed that he destroyed a good Piper Cherokee by ramming it in a building. He should have save the plane and put machine guns on the wings. [emphasis added]

The title is in response to another commenter’s ‘joke’ that Stack was an Obama administration appointee. It will be interesting to see if this commenter is rebuked for making this joke and if the comment is taken down.

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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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