Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford must appear in court two days after running for a vacant congressional seat to answer a complaint that he trespassed at his ex-wife’s home, according to court documents acquired by The Associated Press on Tuesday. > more ... (0 comments)
[T]he political result will be far worse if Republicans start this fight only to cave in the end. You can’t take a hostage you aren’t prepared to shoot.Nothing like the smell of economic napalm in the morning. via
[Boehner] said it is still unclear what President Obama is willing to concede on. “We don’t need a victory lap, we need leadership,” said the Representative from Ohio.Republicans wanting Daddy Obama to lead them to the school bus is pretty damn sad.
The choice of a successor to Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state has turned into an unexpectedly nasty political fight that could cost the White House valuable goodwill with Republicans.Someone let me know when Obama ever gets a drop of goodwill out of the GOP. via LGF
Ed Kilgore gets this just about right:
[...] I don’t think conservative activists much care whether they get their way via stealth as opposed to a grand national repudiation of the New Deal and the Great Society. After all, the very core of today’s conservatives—the so-called “constitutional conservatives”—don’t much believe in democracy to begin with, unless it happens to be useful at some particular point in restoring the Eternal Verities that must be permanently enforced through public policy.
There’s no need to phrase it in subjective terms. Republicans have made this their strategy repeatedly in recent years. Oh, you could look at Mitch Daniels breaking his campaign promises and moving to dismantle Indiana’s labor unions, or Scott Walker breaking his word and targeting public sector workers when he said he wouldn’t in the campaign, or Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder running as a self-conscious moderate and then moving to the hard right on pretty much every issue. The latter issue, admittedly, is complicated since Snyder’s moderate campaign helped him win a landslide that swept in a right-wing Republican legislature, which set the tone far more so than the politically inexperienced “outsider” governor. But it’s not as though those legislators felt the need to honor the campaign promises that indirectly got them into office. But I digress…
So, there are plenty of examples showing the emerging Republican strategy: say what the voters want to hear in public, do what the Kochs want done in private. Romney seems to be transparently going for the same thing on a national level, and is an even more ideal vessel for it since he actually was a moderate a decade ago, and dumbasses like Michael Gerson and David Brooks are so thirsty for Republican moderation that they’ll drink the sand of Romney. Them and most of the institutional media, I guess, hence the “Moderate Mitt” meme’s emergence in spite of no real factual basis to back it up. None of this should be considered shocking (I mean in the sense of being surprised–it is shocking in and of itself) since this is what you get with a party with a, shall we say, culture of deceit. It’s the way of things that, not only do powerful, cynical people not feel bad about lying, it’s positively a thrill to put one over on the dumb yokels out there who are too dumb to figure it out. I suppose I should link to this again. Needless to say, when a party is at a point where its major actors find lying about their policy positions a feature and not a bug of their strategy, you really have got to wonder how long they can really last. P.S.Kilgore also makes this worthwhile point:
The whole grand strategy for conservatives this cycle was to get a Republican Congress and a president pliable enough to agree to sign the aforementioned reconciliation bill implementing the Ryan Budget (not to mention make and get confirmed the fateful fifth vote on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade). No, Romney wasn’t their dream candidate, but he made the requisite promises not to stand in the way of a Republican Congress’ will, as Grover Norquist explained earlier this year. And they didn’t even need to trust him, because the real power would be at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. I honestly don’t think it occurred to anyone in either party until fairly recently that there was a decent chance Republicans could fall short in the Senate even if Mitt Romney won the presidency. The landscape, after all, was so incredibly in their favor, with only 10 of 33 seats to protect and seven Democrats retiring, two of them in deep red states. But then Snowe retired and then Lugar lost his primary and then Akin imploded and then GOP candidates underperformed in Florida and North Dakota and New Mexico and Arizona and Hawaii, and now the Mourdock time bomb has gone off, and it’s just a friggin’ fiasco!
This is a big story, though there’s more to it. Romney has outperformed his party for a number of reasons, even if he’s underperformed what people expected of him personally. But it’s important not to forget that the GOP is, just, incredibly unpopular. Senate candidates can’t escape their party affiliation, so even good candidates who haven’t run terrible campaigns (like Linda Lingle in Hawaii), or decent candidates in red states, have struggled to close the deal because of how toxic a reputation their party has. The Tea Party is a component of this because of the ways their influence has led to the selection of lousy candidates in some of these races, too, but that feeds into the broader dynamic, since the public perception of Republicans isn’t helped by your Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks. It does appear that presidential candidates are able to transcend party affiliation to some extent based on personality and other factors, which is utterly silly but that’s how it is, and House races get much less attention paid to them so paid media can really make a strong difference there, perhaps trumping party in many cases. But Senate races get a good amount of attention, and the Republican label just isn’t an asset these days. We might well be headed toward an era where Republicans can’t put together a winning electoral map for the presidency and are hopeless in the Senate, but are able for a while (thanks to redistricting) to hold onto the House because of these factors. Like a mirror reflection of the Reagan era.
There hasn’t been much on the radar since Olympia Snowe retired and Dick Lugar lost, but today had a double-dose of centrist Republican angst that would make Jeff Daniels’s character from The Newsroom go weak in the knees. Steve B. is unimpressed with Rep. Hanna’s complaints about Republican extremism:
Where were the Republican moderates during the debt-ceiling crisis, when their party threatened to crash the economy on purpose unless Democrats accepted non-negotiable demands? They were silent. Not one was willing to step up and say, “What we’re doing is wrong.”
Where were the Republican moderates during the repeated threats of government shutdowns? Where were the Republican moderates when the House voted 32 times to destroy a moderate health care reform law?
Where were the Republican moderates when President Obama pleaded with Congress to engage in some bipartisan policymaking? Where were the Republican moderates when GOP leaders prioritized abortion over job creation? Where were the Republican moderates when the GOP decided it was against its own proposals on immigration, energy, health care, and the economy?
These centrists have been a non-entity because they’ve chosen to go along with an extremist agenda, sitting on the sidelines and voting how they’re told to vote.
If they’re frustrated about the radicalization of their party, maybe they should have spoken up sooner.
And Steve K. is somewhat kinder toward retiring Rep. LaTourette.
I think there are two components to this, one of which I’m a bit skeptical of, one of which I’m not. On the one hand, defying the leadership and the bulk of the party would require real courage, especially considering that primary challenges from the right remain a significant threat. And you know what Sir Humphrey Appleby would say about political courage:
The other angle to this is that, ultimately, moderate Republicans often decline to behave in their own best interest. If ever there was an issue for moderate Republicans to be vocal on, it would be on the fraudulence of “voter fraud” arguments as a way of disenfranchising people. The more that moderates and Democrats vote, the more essential the moderate wing becomes to the GOP. And with a legitimately bipartisan opposition and a fractured GOP, the optics of the issue would be very different. It’s absolutely insane to me that moderate Republicans aren’t united and loud in their denunciations of this issue, but so far only Michigan Governor Snyder has spoken out against them. While it’s likely that a Republican crossing party lines on high-priority issues to the base (climate, taxes, etc.) would be ending his career, I doubt that would be true of lower-priority issues. But one sees no signs of assertiveness there.
What strikes me about these two guys’ complaints (and the complaints of Lugar and Snowe) is that Republican moderates seem to share one quality in particular with Democratic moderates (e.g. the Blue Dogs): entitlement. It hasn’t occurred to any of these four that power is built, not given, and that holding moderate views does not entitle you to wield decisive control over your party. I blame this trait on the centrist Washington culture, which assumes that moderate voices are inherently more reasonable and deserve more attention. Moderates who live in this world seem to be unable to bear the realities of political party life, in which on-the-one-hand reasoning and careful hedging to ensure both sides are at fault doesn’t take you quite as far. I suppose it’s no shock that the lazy centrism of D.C. culture encourages similarly lazy centrist politics, and subsequently frustration when they don’t get what they think they deserve. It amuses me because, well, gaining power involves the same process regardless of your politics, and remaking a party in a centrist fashion is an achievable goal. Just ask Nelson Rockefeller, or Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But these guys never give me a sense of that, it’s just more in sorrow than in anger complaining about how the rest of the party isn’t like them.
Also, I guess I don’t really buy LaTourette’s excuse that he’s leaving because of extremism–his departure will inevitably result in a more conservative Republican taking his place. He’s probably more angry about getting shut out of a committee slot. At least Snowe got another lame, publicity-hungry moderate to pick up her mantle after she’s gone.
Hard to believe this guy was considered for Attorney General of the United States in 2008:
Artur Davis, the former Alabama Democratic congressman who recently announced his rebirth as a Virginia Republican, appeared before the Northern Virginia Tea Party on Monday, delivering a speech that referenced Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks, while congratulating the Tea Party on their success over the past few years.
“I want to submit to you that in the last 100 years, no political organization, in the history of this country, has done more to shape or influence politics as quickly as y’all did.” Davis said. “You know, my kinfolk from the South in the civil rights movement changed the country. But even the civil rights movement did not figure out how to win elections and turn a country around as quickly as you did.”
This is a flawed comparison. The civil rights movement was a social movement that spent decades trying to allow a marginalized group of people to exercise their rights. The Tea Party was an electoral movement dedicated entirely to defeating Democrats, to stymie Barack Obama’s agenda and ability to govern. Both were largely, though not entirely, successful. I’m sure Tea Party supporters would disagree, but they’re just wrong objectively. I suppose the argument that the Tea Party was intended to defend freedom (their conception of it, anyway), but in actuality it was a reaction to the failures of Bush, the election of Obama, and the declining prospects for Republicans electorally. It made few specific complaints, many of which were highly opportunistic (“spending” is unabashed theft and evil, unless those dollars are going to defense contractors or Koch oil ventures as subsidies), was dedicated to militant opposition to every Obama initiative regardless of whether Republicans had supported it earlier, and offers no solutions to the sudden dearth of “freedom” other than voting Democrats (and, to a lesser extent, moderate Republicans) out of office. The Tea Party is, as it has been, a phony social movement, hyped by interested parties with an agenda, legitimized by the mainstream media, and funded by the very same people who funded the Bush Republicans that they now claim to hate. It’s possible to argue that it was a genuine movement that got hijacked by the Kochs, Dick Armey, FOX, and so forth, but it wasn’t that for long.
And this is entirely unsurprising:
During the well-received remarks, Davis argued that “2012 is a 1980 kind of moment.” In 1980, Davis said, “they told us the Europeans and the Asians were the wave of the future. They told us that our young people wouldn’t know times like we did before.” [...]
“Ladies and gentlemen, in 1980, one man, from a small town in Illinois, said I know what they say, I hear the doubts in the wind, but I will not be bowed,” Davis said. “This man, who was supposedly old and faded, issued the same call that a 43-year-old named Jack Kennedy issued in 1960, and said that we can do better.”
…and then Davis voted for Carter. I’m guessing. Maybe he did vote for Reagan and his entire Democratic career was merely convenient, but I doubt it. Republicans are always desperate to find minority faces to put out there so they don’t come across as the old, white party, even if the people elevated are less than qualified (see: West, Allen). Someone with some actual political skills? Woulda been governor for real if he’d been a Republican from the beginning. Does anyone really buy this stuff as anything other than opportunism? And is he suggesting that Mitt Romney is old and faded? He left something dangling there.
All in all, Davis hits all the cliched notes that one would expect him to hit in a stump speech as a Republican. The linking of the party with a civil rights history that it rejected long ago, and that with new voter restrictions it has decided to reject once again. Then there’s the bizarre implication that JFK would be a Republican if he were around today. Why this point keeps recycling around Republican circles I’ll never understand–the substance is that Kennedy cut taxes, but he also tried to create new single-payer health programs and institute civil rights. It definitely feels like something Baby Boomer Republicans circulate to tie into Kennedy’s glamor, which is a little pathetic, as well as to “prove” that Democrats moved to the left since then. It seems pointless to me, since the last thing Kennedy is known for is his policy positions, and his hawkishness nearly destroyed the world. But whatever. And then there’s the Reagan worship, which is so utterly worn out by this point. To be sure, Republicans’ fantasy Reagan has supplanted the real one in the public’s imagination. But ultimately it does Mitt Romney no favors to make the comparison, it just reminds people of how much less smooth and sincere Romney is compared to Ronaldus Magnus, in much the same way the eye-rolling JFK comparisons made John Kerry look like more of a dork in 2004. Republican voters know they don’t have a Reagan on their hands, Art.
I was never all that impressed with Davis when he was a Democrat, because I saw him as slick but empty. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that he’s no different as a Republican. But he takes to it better, ascribing social justice implications to the GOP’s ongoing quest for more power. Typically, party-switchers don’t fare well under these circumstances, but there are exceptions. Like Reagan.
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