Archive for the ‘GOP & The Election’ Category


April 5th, 2011 1 comment

If reports going around are accurate, then the GOP may finally be making a huge blunder that could cost them dearly in 2012: they are planning to dismantle Medicare. Or, more precisely, to turn it into something resembling the health care reform Obama and the Democrats set up.

The proposal would do away with (for everyone presently under 55 years of age) the current single payer government system for senior medical care and replace it with a program whereby seniors would choose private health insurance coverage from a menu of approved private health insurers. The government would subsidize the program by giving seniors a voucher to be used in purchasing coverage, the amount of such payment to be defined according to need.

The article goes on to note that the plan would actually be weaker than what Obama got passed, but that’s a side point at best. The main point is, they are pulling a Bush–they seem to be planning to firmly grasp a third-rail issue. One can only assume it is blind arrogance and a sense of invulnerability that allows them to think that this is a good idea.

Apparently they forgot what happened in 2005, when Bush went on his “Bamboozlepalooza” tour, trying to sell the American public on the idea of privatizing social security. It not only fell flat, but likely was a major factor contributing to further erosion of Republican power, leading to the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006.

Now, just months after taking the House back, they seem to think they are indestructible again. I mean, seriously, do away with Medicare? Do they really think that voters in their late 40s and early 50’s, now looking forward to getting on Medicare, will sit still for it to be yanked away from them? Do they think that those over 55 won’t see this as an encroachment, a threat that their own Medicare programs will be next on the GOP hit list?

And let’s not forget that the Tea Party faithful, the very same people who were flooding Democratic town halls at the behest of the Republicans, were furious at the suggestion made by Republicans that Democrats were going to fund health care reform at the expense of Medicare. Ergo the self-contradicting demands of “no socialized medicine, and don’t you dare touch our Medicare!”

Seriously, if these reports are accurate and the GOP truly plans to dismantle Medicare, they must be insane. Which, of course, you probably know I have long believed is likely the case.

Apparently, they will try to sell it as “reform” which will save up to $4 trillion. They seem to think that people will buy that, and be enticed by the prospect of slashing spending. Doubtless they will soon start pitching the line that Medicare is unsustainable and this will actually save it.

The thing is, people won’t buy it. The Republicans will find themselves in the same place they put Democrats in with health care reform: trying to justify an obscure promise of future benefit to a group of people fearful of losing what they have. People will far sooner believe that something bad is coming than hope that something good will come instead. The GOP would, in essence, be turning its own favored tactic on itself.

What surprises me is the idea that Republicans don’t see this. After all, this has been their chief weapon to gain power and beat Democrats with over the past decade.

To this potential opportunity to galvanize opposition to the GOP in general, add recent demographic studies showing likely increased minority influence in many states helping Obama and the Democrats.

I can only hope that the Republicans remain clueless, and, like Bush in 2005, stick to this plan. The only danger is that the Democrats, in their usual stupid, weak-kneed manner, fearing any slight possibility of disadvantage, will react by caving in before there is any time for the public to react–unfortunately, a very real possibility. Another possibility is that these reports reflect a simple trial balloon, or perhaps Republicans will catch on to their error very soon.

But if this is a mainstream right-wing plan, and if (hoping against hope) the Democrats don’t cave instantly, and if the Republicans are going to boldly campaign for this plan to its foreseeable end–then we could see Democrats actually make gains against Republicans next year instead of losing the Senate as many feel is now possible.

Categories: GOP & The Election, Health Issues Tags:

Up and Coming from the Right

March 24th, 2011 Comments off

Just in case you forgot how essentially dishonest the opposition to Obama is, here’s a reminder.

Newt Gingrich on Fox News, March 7th:

Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. … All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes. … This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.

So, Obama went the no-fly-zone route, bombed to defend Libyan rebels, and did not commit ground troops. All good, right?

Newt on the Today Show , March 23:

I would not have intervened. I think there are a lot of other ways to affect Gaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region that we could have worked with. … Having decided to go there, if Qaddafi does not leave power it will be a defeat for the U.S., it will lengthen our engagement, it will increase our costs.

Criticism of Obama from the right wing is, and never has been, about anything he has actually done. Obama doesn’t bomb Libya, he’s wrong. Obama does bomb Libya, he’s wrong. Nor is this the only example; half the stuff Obama has done is stuff that Republicans used to support, not too long ago. They don’t oppose ideas, or policy, or very much at all, in fact. If Obama does anything, it’s wrong and will harm the country. And if Obama were to do something they could not possibly oppose–like advocate for a ban on abortion, for example–they would simply switch to criticizing how and why he’d do it while the goal posts much farther down the field and criticizing him for not going that far.

By the way, a little aside: right-wingers are now saying that the presidency is “beneath” Sarah Palin, and that it would be a “step down” for her. (Didn’t you know? Palin is the new Oprah.)

And liberals, in case you forgot, are elitists.

I Acted Like Vile, Soulless Scum Because I Am Such a God-Fearing Patriot

March 10th, 2011 3 comments

Newt Gingrich, commenting on the reasons why he cheated on his wife and came to her hospital bed as she suffered from cancer to lay out terms of the divorce, before later marrying the younger woman and refusing to pay alimony and child support:

There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

Wow. He acted like an unspeakably cruel, selfish, and utterly soulless piece of scum because he was such a impassioned patriot. Yeah, that explains it.

At least he has enough shame to equivocate, saying that it’s only partially why he did it. I am assuming that the other, unspoken part is because he has no scruples, virtue, or shame. Goes without saying, I suppose.

Naturally, right after he finished saying the above, he mentioned God about five or six times in quick succession.

Meet the next Republican candidate for president.

Disenfranchising Democrats

March 8th, 2011 5 comments

Republicans these days seem to have no shame when it comes to attempts to outright ban Democrats from voting. There have been a large number of scams, from dishonestly padded “felons lists” to far more devious “caging” scams. On a larger scale, they have successfully attacked organizations like ACORN, which help get lower-income Americans registered to vote, and, using fake voter-fraud claims, have tried to institute “voter ID” laws which coincidentally cause far more Democrats to not vote. Voting machines made by corporations vowing to do whatever it takes to get Republicans elected have shown the tendency to make “errors” which just happen to heavily favor Republican candidates. Republicans have even made public statements about suppressing the Democratic vote.

Anyone who pays attention to these stories knows that this is not a side game, a sometimes thing, or just a practice of people on the fringe: illicitly attempting to disenfranchise voters on the basis that they are Democrats is very much a mainstream Republican sport–and one certainly does not hear much from people on the right in protest of these actions.

Now, in New Hampshire, the state legislator is taking yet another new spin on this right-wing pastime. The Republican state House speaker, William O’Brien, wants to limit the ability of young people to vote, because all too often, he claims, they do so “foolishly”–that is, they vote Democratic:

“Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students lack “life experience,” and “they just vote their feelings.”

This he told a Tea Party gathering–and it’s not just talk. There are bills going through the New Hampshire legislature which would use college and other residency situations common to young voters to keep them from the ballot boxes.

I am serious when I ask, how long will it be when it becomes so blatant that someone will claim that voting Democratic is a sign of mental instability, and will want to disenfranchise voters on those grounds? I am sure that some on the right-wing fringe already do so, but how long until a politician starts venting along those lines? O’Brien’s rant is dangerously close to exactly that.

I’m “Afraid” They Do

January 15th, 2011 1 comment

I was just looking over some old posts, and stumbled across this from 2004:

But it is a classic political weapon, used down the ages. Make the people afraid, and then tell them you are the one who can save them. … Fear is not only a weapon, it is perhaps the most powerful weapon that can be used in politics.

I was referring to the “terror alerts” that the Bush administration regularly issued throughout the election in order to push up Dubya’s numbers in the polls and to deflate Kerry whenever he was due for a bump. Strange that all of those alerts turned out not leading to anything. And we all remember how, after Bush won the election, we rarely saw any terror alerts again.

I mean, that couldn’t have been a trick, now could it have? Oh, of course not–conservatives would never think of using some scare tactic purely to make people vote for them?

It’s not as if there was a huge scare about some sort of terror mosque being built near Ground Zero that was all over the news last year but then we never heard about it again once the election was over.

No, conservatives never use fear tactics. Just like they never use violent imagery or suggest gun violence is a way to handle political disputes.

You’ve Probably heard This

December 24th, 2010 15 comments

Many people who voted in the midterm elections voted Republican, not because they knew Democrats did a bad job, but because they were misled into believing so. A poll conducted by the university of Maryland found that not only were voters misinformed on key issues, but viewers of Fox News were most misinformed, with the greatest lack of understanding about what is true and what is not. The highlights of how Fox News viewers fared on some basic points that the average voter should be be responsible for knowing:

  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs

Seriously, it’s a pretty solid conviction of Fox as being a source of misinformation rather than of information. The evidence could not be more clear that the stimulus saved millions of jobs–not a few, but millions. And that a quarter to a third of it was tax cuts. And half of these people don’t even know what their own tax status is? Almost two-thirds are birthers?

Some of these I could almost understand–the economy certainly would feel like it’s getting worse to many, and it could be hard to understand health care’s impact on the budget. But let’s face it, it’s not as if these are issues that Fox gives a fair and balanced look at. They constantly spread lies (excuse me, “opinions”) about this kind of thing.

Nor are Fox viewers innocent dupes, the likelihood is that many if not most of these people watch Fox because it tells them what they want to believe. Which right now is anything bad about Obama.

Categories: "Liberal" Media, GOP & The Election Tags:

Election Fraud Fraud

November 24th, 2010 Comments off

Ha. It seems that Republicans will cry “Voter Fraud” not matter who the other candidate is. In Alaska’s (R) vs. (R) fight between Murkowski and Miller, Miller–the GOP’s new Sore Loser (and Norm Coleman’s weak echo)–is now claiming what is assumed to be massive voter fraud for a Republican candidate. Among the devious criminal enterprises are, according to Miller, many ballots with suspiciously similar handwriting and votes cast by voters without correct identification–add that to all the ballots misspelling “Murkowski,” which Miller insists are protest votes against Murkowski.

This after Miller’s people ran a campaign to flood the write-in candidate list with names so that people would have trouble finding Murkowski’s name.

This would have to be massive fraud as Miller is behind by 10,000 votes and yet still seems to be fighting to win.

After Minnesota two years ago, I have to admit it would be rather amusing–and yet still wrong–if Miller were able to hold up Murkowski’s appointment for several months. Not that that is going to happen, for various reasons–including the obvious lack of GOP support, as well as the fact that Murkowski is the incumbent.

Still, it is amusing enough that Miller is using the standard baseless, asinine, and fraudulent sore-loser claims against Murkowski that right-wingers tend to fling out whenever they lose elections fair and square.


November 5th, 2010 7 comments

Obama, in some ways, is admirable, but in other ways, you just want to punch the guy out. I mean, seriously–after all the times he gave Republicans what they wanted and then began to compromise, and as many times as others criticized him and even told him to his face that this was not the way to deal with obstinacy, and here he is, doing it yet again–telling Republicans that he’s OK with giving in on the Bush tax cuts before the negotiations even start. I mean, a facepalm doesn’t even begin to cover it. Maybe the massive facepalm from Naked Gun 3.33 would be a good start. Contrast this with Bush in 2006, after having lost both houses of the Congress, interpreting the results as an indication that the voters wanted more of the same from him. Obama is going a bit too far in the opposite direction.

And here’s another little tidbit from 4 years ago:

As part of their campaigning, Republicans warned America that if Democrats won the election, they would use their control of the Congress to investigate the Bush administration, and even try to impeach him. They painted this as an unacceptable outcome.

Crooks & Liars reminds us that twelve years ago, Newt Gingrich promised that if Republicans took control of Congress, that is exactly what they would do: investigate Clinton to death. And that is one promise he kept, right up to the impeachment.

As we all know, the Democrats completely laid off the Bush administration in 2006 and 2008, and did not prosecute him or Cheney even though there were several highly legitimate and even demanding reasons to do so.

And here we are again, with Republicans taking over the House, and they can’t wait to start subpoenaing again.

The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same.

What Now?

November 3rd, 2010 5 comments

OK, so the GOP now has control over the House, and the Democrats the Senate. What will that mean?

Some are saying the the GOP will become more reasonable now. That they will not follow people like Issa who want to do nothing in the House but investigate Obama 24/7, using the power to prosecute as a means to dredge up public distrust and hopefully some slime like they did back in the 90’s. These optimists are saying that the Republicans will actually have to deliver something, do something productive in order to stay afloat, which means they may actually have to compromise on a few things.

I desperately hope I am wrong, but I simply cannot imagine that happening. I made that mistake in 2008, naively opining about “Obama Republicans” and how lashing out and going balls-to-the-wall obstructionist would hurt them. Boy, was I wrong. And I have seen nothing to make me believe that Republicans will suddenly change now.

I could be wrong again, but I think it’s a safe bet that we will just see them alter their tactics, not reverse them. I think they will start ramming through legislation in the House just like they did in the Bush years, going back to being far more oppressive to Democrats than the Democrats ever were to them (despite their constant whining that the Dems were worst of all). And the legislation they will pass will be stuff they know will never make it into law–mostly because it will never be intended to become law, but instead will be designed to make them look good and the Dems look bad.

The Republican leadership has already made it clear that their first priority will not be to fix the economy, create jobs, or do anything else constructive. Instead, their number-one priority is to defeat Obama in 2012. That rules out compromise, even if they had not made it crystal clear over the last decade that the last thing they would ever do is compromise. They would sooner scorch the earth.

I think that the first thing they will do is to start in on the tax situation. They know Obama will fight any attempt to reinstate Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, but with control over the House, which they will strictly maintain with harsh discipline (again, as they have in the past), they will only allow tax bills to pass with the Bush cuts included. Then expect a rabid campaign where they will claim that Obama and the Dems are raising your taxes, blocking middle-class tax cuts, because all they want to do is penalize small businesses and tax them into oblivion. Yes, I know that the opposite was clearly demonstrated before the election, but the Republicans excel at remaking reality and rewriting history, and the American people have amply demonstrated that they can be easily fooled in this way. And Democrats will likely again fail to get their point across.

What we may in fact begin to see is big pressure against blue-dog Democrats, maybe even nullifying the Democratic majority in the Senate, even perhaps forcing Democrats to either begin filibustering legislation here and there (which Republicans will inevitably make big noises about), or allowing legislation to pass for Obama to veto.

And the legislation, as I indicated, will be designed to look great–but if passed, would sink the economy. It will be filled with tax cuts and other assorted right-wing goodies that the Republicans know the Dems will never go for, but they will look attractive and the Republicans will use them as cudgels, claiming the Democrats are the obstructionists and the Republicans were prevented from fixing the economy. A lie which they will not hesitate to scream from the rooftops, a claim that would have been true had Democrats run under it this year but they somehow fumbled and cowered into corners as usual.

As I said, I hope I am wrong. I would be happy to see Congress actually address issues in a spirit of actual bipartisanship and compromise. Obama has been all too willing to go there, and the Democrats too weak-kneed to do much else. Republicans, however, by their actions and rhetoric, have given no indication that they would even consider such a thing.

Thank You, Sarah Palin

November 3rd, 2010 3 comments

Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to have her around, after all. I am not sure how instrumental Palin was in getting Angle and O’Donnell elected in their primaries, but she definitely helped them both before their primaries unseated mainstream GOP candidates who had real shots at unseating their Democratic opponents. But now, thanks to Angle and O’Donnell, we’re asking whether Democrats will have 52 or 53 seats instead of wondering if Democrats will be able to hold on to control of the Senate at all.

And within the Republican Party, there have been hints of a “Stop Sarah Palin” campaign, lest she secure the Republican candidacy for president in 2012, and then lose badly to Obama.

Categories: GOP & The Election Tags:

Gods of Fear and Yesteryear

October 31st, 2010 1 comment

David Barton, an evangelical Christian minister and Republican political activist from Texas, warns the god-fearing:

For Christians, voting is not a right, it’s a duty. It’s a stewardship that we owe to God and it’s a stewardship for which we’ll answer directly to him. One day we’ll stand before him and he’ll say “what did you do with that vote I gave you?” And we’ll have to answer.

Righteousness must be the issue. It must be the measure to define what we’re for politically and what we’re against. And each of us will answer to God not only for whether we voted, but for how we voted, for what issues drove our vote.

If we stand before God and He says “why did you vote for a leader who’s attempting to redefine my institution of marriage and who wills the unborn children that I knew before they were in the womb?” If He asks us that and our answer is “Because that leader was good on jobs and the economy,” He’s not going to accept that.

One has to wonder if, a century and a half ago, a similar minister in the South preached to his listeners that when they stood before God and defended their voting record, he would ask why they voted for a leader who would redefine his institution of slavery and wills that people of one race may marry with people of another.

Remember, such were the ways of the time; just as he claims that marriage as it is legally defined today is God’s “institution”–the Bible, of course, says differently, but who’s paying attention–so did many preachers in the old South proclaim that slavery was ordained by God in the Bible–something that actually could be defended a lot better.

There were undoubtedly people back then who voted for slavery, being warned by people like Barton that they would go to hell if they voted against God’s will like that. Today, people like Barton would tell you (at least I hope) that trying to enslave others is wrong and that would lead you to hell.

So, what happened to the people who enslaved others a century and a half ago believing it was God’s will? Did God reward them for doing rightly, or did he punish them, sending them to the fires of hell? Or did God change his mind and judges people differently now?

As a result, one has to question the whole idea of whether we should listen to preachers who arrogantly claim to know what God will or will not send us to hell for. Try instead to phrase the question from different perspectives and see how it comes out:

If we stand before God and He says, “why did you vote for a leader who would deny to all the institution of love and remove my mandate of free will, allowing all to choose the righteous path for themselves?” If He asks us that and our answer is, “Because some preacher told me so and he scared me,” He’s not going to accept that.


Categories: GOP & The Election, Religion Tags:

Update: Rand Paul Campaign Worker Gets Even Nicer

October 28th, 2010 13 comments

Tim Profitt, the man who stomped on the head of the woman trying to hold up a sign outside the Paul / Conway debate last night, wants the woman he stomped to apologize to him.

I am not making that up.

When we spoke to Profitt, he asked that his face not appear on camera, but he wanted to defend himself. “She’s a professional at what she does,” Profitt said, referring to the activist, “and I think when all the facts come out, I think people will see that she was the one that initiated the whole thing.” …

As for Profitt, he remains defiant. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Profitt said.

And when asked if he would apologize to Valle. “I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you,” Profitt said.

Yeah, that damned hippie, actually having the gall to come to a public pace and hold up a sign! She’s lucky nobody shot her dead. She should be grateful that Profitt stomped her head while she was pinned to the ground. She should man up and apologize for making him work through his horrific back pain to restrain her from exercising her free speech.

Okay, in case it’s not already blindingly obvious, nobody had any right to so much as touch the woman. The Paul supporters were already pushing the limits by blocking her from going where she wished. Just because she was going to do something they didn’t like did not give them license–but at least just standing in her way was inside the law, if somewhat dickish.

But when they laid a hand on her, that’s assault. Restraining her physically was way beyond what they had any right doing. Tackling her was asinine, and even more illegal.

But while the woman was on the ground, two large, grown men pinning her there, immobile and not even under any circumstances imaginable a threat to anyone, to put your foot over her head and neck and then stomp down–that is, as previously pointed out, crossing a major line. Back pain has nothing to do with it–even if there had been reason to pin her to the ground, she was pinned. Profitt’s actions were, to say the least, gratuitous.

But it should not be forgotten that touching the woman in any way, shape or form was also unacceptable. Plain and simple, you don’t touch someone who is doing nothing but exercising the same rights as anyone else. She had as much right to be there as the man who stomped her or the man who tackled her–another Rand campaign worker named Mike Pezzano–is also guilty of assault.

And the Rand Campaign is being classy about this. Although they eventually condemned the attack and disassociated themselves from the stomper (though not, as far as I can tell, from Pezzano–the condemnation and distancing was in reference only to one person, presumably Profitt), the campaign and Paul himself first attempted to not condemn what happened, but to instead blame the woman as much as the man who assaulted her. Paul, speaking himself on Fox (naturally) specifically about the incident, did not apologize or even condemn the act at first:

We want everybody to be civil. We want this campaign to be about issues. I will tell you that when we arrived, there was enormous passion on both sides. It really was something where you walk into a daze of lights flashing, people yelling and screaming, bumping up. And there was a bit of a crowd control problem. And I don’t want anybody, though, to be involved in things that aren’t civil. I think this should always be about the issues and is an unusual situation that so many people, so passionate on both sides jockeying back and forth and it wasn’t something that I liked or anybody liked about that situation. So I hope in the future it’s gonna be better.

“Both sides.” The men who tackled and stomped the woman were at fault, but so was the woman because she wanted to hold up a sign within sight of Paul. More right-wing false equivalency.

The thing is, this is not new. When I was going over the videos of the town halls last year for the previous post, I was reminded of what we saw then. Angry mobs of people screaming, chanting, shoving–acting like snotty, spoiled brats, unwilling to act in a civil manner, people whose only purpose was to snuff out the ability of the opposition to say anything without being shouted down.

In short, what happened yesterday was not exactly an isolated incident. We have the politicians themselves–not just people volunteering for their campaign–actually talking about “Second Amendment Remedies” and “violent uprisings” in the event they don’t win power at the ballot box.

These people are not about Democracy. They are not even about a Republic. They are about power, in their hands and nobody else’s. They are, in a word, thugs.


October 27th, 2010 4 comments

Jesus. First Joe Smith’s security team “arrests” a persistent journalist trying to ask the candidate tough questions. But now, we have people working for the Rand Paul campaign–not just random supporters–tackling a woman who disagreed with the candidate and did nothing more than approach with a sign, pinning her to the ground, and then stomping on her head and neck. Not an exaggeration:

You will note that (a) she never seemed to get within 20 feet of the candidate, maybe not even that close; (b) did nothing illegal or threatening–she just walked up with a satirical sign, and (c) people started getting hysterical, a guy screaming, “WHERE ARE THE POLICE AT??? GET THE POLICE OUT HERE!!! GET THE COPS!!!, someone tearing off her wig, as another guy in a campaign t-shirt helps tackle her, and while she is pinned to the ground, very carefully and intentionally put his foot over her head and neck, then stomped down.

The guy doing the stomping probably would have continued if not for one person–just one in the mob–thought head-stomping was a bit too much, and said, ”No no no no no no, come on.“

All they were missing were jack boots. I mean, Christ–if I had been that woman, I would have been terrified.

This wasn’t accidental bumping. This wasn’t responding to a security threat. This wasn’t in any way, shape, or form justified or justifiable. The woman had exactly as much right to be there unmolested as anyone else. Grabbing her and tackling her by themselves was unforgivably illegal assault, even without the head-stomping.

I wrote the above last night, and more information has come out. The guy who stomped on the woman’s head is indeed an official Rand Paul campaign worker, a guy named Tim Profitt, the campaign’s county coordinator and someone whose endorsement was touted in a full-page newspaper ad for the campaign. The guy, ironically, was wearing a button reading ”Don’t Tread on Me“ (apparently it’s OK the other way around). Profitt ”apologized“ for it, citing concern for Paul’s ”safety“–but that was belied by the fact that they knew exactly who the woman was and what she was trying to do. This was not some mysterious stranger breaking through the crowd, but someone they had earlier identified and tried to block off purely because they knew she wanted to criticize Paul publicly. Safety, my ass.

You have right-wingers not only carrying provocative signs inciting violence, but carrying assault rifles outside Obama events, and they go unmolested–but a woman carrying a fake oversized check to make a political point gets head-stomped. Maybe she should have brought the assault rifle.

Now, had it simply been a unsupported claim of physical assault, it would be open for skepticism on the way it was reported–like soccer players, such people often fake or wildly exaggerate assault-victim stuff, or honestly mistake normal crowd contact for assault. Someone claiming ”They stomped on my head!“ without support is easy to doubt. However, this was caught directly on tape.

Take as a contrary example the story of a guy named Randy Arthur, who in early August , 2009 (amid the summer Tea Party frenzy to disrupt Democratic town hall meetings) got his shirt ripped and his chest scratched, supposedly when he was ”slammed into a wall“ by overzealous security guards (not campaign workers) for a town hall meeting featuring Democratic Representative Kathy Castor in Florida. It was one of those meetings overrun by bused-in Tea Party people who were chanting, screaming, and otherwise shutting down any chance at clear communication. In this case, the exact scuffle was not caught on tape, making it impossible to see how much was unjustifiable and how much was Arthur himself scuffling–videos of the event clearly show an extremely hostile crowd, and Arthur admits trying to hold a door open as security was trying to close them to maintain fire marshal codes in the already-overcrowded auditorium.

Similarly for the story of Kenneth Gladney, a star in right wing circles–a man allegedly ”beaten“ by left-wing SEIU union thugs. They have video, they claim–except that the video starts with the union guy who supposedly caused him numerous grave injuries on the ground, and Gladney standing nearby; the ”assault“ shown is Gladney being pulled off the union guy and falling down as a result. Not only does Gladney appear completely unhurt, popping up off the ground and walking around like nothing is wrong, but the union guy shows injury, holding a hurt shoulder. A few days later Gladney is carted out in a wheelchair at right-wing events, as if he was beaten to within an inch of his life, to hear right-wingers repeat the tale.

No, the Rand Paul event incident was as clear-cut as it gets. It doesn’t matter if the woman who was stomped suffered injuries or not; the treatment she received at the hands of campaign workers is unjustifiable and inexplicable. The people involved in these movements all too often come across as violent, arrogant, self-righteous thugs who rail at others allegedly oppressing them, but all too willing to lash out at others.

The Stimulus, The Budget, Employment, and the Election: Conservatives Are Lying Their Asses Off, Obama Is Doing Great, And Here Are the Numbers to Prove It

October 26th, 2010 9 comments

To hear Republicans talk about it, Obama has done nothing about the economy, has not created any jobs, has busted the budget with unprecedented spending, and is responsible for the unemployment rate being what it is. The stimulus, they maintain, is a failure, and the people are suffering because of Obama’s inaction.

The problem with these accusations is that they are all one-hundred-percent, Grade-A horse shit. Bush wrecked the economy, and Obama and the Democrats, despite massive Republican obstructionism, have managed to pull off a minor miracle. And here are the numbers to prove it.

Before on this blog, I have refuted the claim about the stimulus’ failure; the numbers speak volumes–here’s a chart I published six months back:

With no other notable effect acting on jobs other than the stimulus, it would take huge leaps of legerdemain to explain the turnaround seen here in any other way than to recognize the stimulus as successful. As a result, Republicans simply ignore it, acting as if pulling the country out of a deep hole–their deep hole–is meaningless because the Democrats haven’t made the economy rocket into the sky yet. And sadly, Democrats–who should be plastering this chart up everywhere in sight–are letting their best advertising slip away as the conservative narrative takes hold.

Yes, the surge in jobs and/or the halt in layoffs sputtered soon after I made this chart, and since then the numbers have hovered below zero. However, this is pretty much what was predicted back in early 2009 by those who said the stimulus, as finally passed, wasn’t enough–they were 100% spot-on correct–and let’s not ignore the fact that we are substantially better off now than we were when Bush left office.

Now, how about the budget? That’s another GOP talking point–that things were going OK under Bush, at least tolerably well–but then Obama came in an exploded spending and the deficit. Let’s explode that lie, shall we? Here’s a chart [source data] showing expenditures and receipts over the past six years:


Ouch. Sure enough, deficits have exploded, and spending is up. Yes, spending is more of a straight line, but it’s not supported by revenue. Looks like under Bush, the deficit was under control, and then recently, under Obama, things have gotten out of hand.

Until, of course, you draw a precise line showing when Bush left and Obama took over:


What do you know. The deficit exploded under Bush, not Obama; Obama has been holding relatively steady. His spending is increasing at about the same rate it was under Bush. Also notice that the deficit is not that much greater now than it was when Obama took over–the arrows show the deficit when the transition occurred, laid over the latest numbers and a year before Bush left office. Obama, it turns out, has not really added much at all relative to what he was given. In contrast, Bush more than doubled the deficit in his last year in office.

So much for the “Obama and the Democrats have wrecked the budget” lie. Not to mention that soon after Obama came in to office and deployed the stimulus, the recession ended and government receipts started trending upward again. How about that.

Another tack taken by the Republicans is the unemployment rate; their claim is that since the stimulus did not take the rate down to the optimistic projections of the Obama administration, Obama therefore owns the unemployment rate–he is, they say, responsible for it.

But let’s take a look at that chart over time as well–red represents Bush months, blue for Obama:


Despite the fact that the trend and momentum started and gained steam fully under Bush, it doesn’t look too great for Obama here–when he came in, the rate was just under 8%, then it went up to 10%, and now is hovering between 9% and 10%. Republicans have picked up on this, adding fuel to their criticisms.

One problem: the unemployment rate lags behind improvements in the economy, usually by about three quarters. Apply that to the chart, and you get this:


Seen this way, one finds that not only was Obama not responsible for the 10%, he has actually lowered unemployment since he got into office. This would not be a surprise to anyone aware of the job trends since the stimulus began. Of course, this doesn’t make things all rosy–we’re still in a bad place, and slightly better than catastrophic is still terrible.

However, that’s why the unemployment rate seemed to go the opposite direction of the job surge: not only were we delayed by nine months or so, but in addition to that, we spent a year in negative territory–despite the fact that things were getting way, way better, we were still losing jobs up until late ’09. Thus the reversal in unemployment trends has been tepid so far.

So, let’s pause for a quick review: Conservatives say the stimulus is a failure. The facts say it was a resounding success, reversing the horrific nosedive that Bush had put us in. Conservatives say that Obama exploded spending and destroyed the budget. The facts show that Bush did all of that, and under Obama, spending has increased at the same general rate it did under Bush, but deficit increases have slowed greatly. Conservatives say that Obama made unemployment rise to 10% and hasn’t done a thing to change that. The facts say that Bush drove unemployment up, and that Obama stopped the trend and has slowly been wrestling the number down.

The difference is like night and day–Bush wrecked the economy, Obama has been bringing it back under control. And now Republicans are trying to blame the guy who has been helping for all the damage that Republicans wrought on the economy.

OK, back to the unemployment numbers, and where they will go. Now, the stimulus surge came to an end after May, the month in which we gained about 430,000 jobs. There was a 4-month period from February to May when the surge continued upwards, and then things went dead from June, since which time we’ve lost roughly 100,000 jobs a month.

If unemployment lags as predicted, this will be bad timing for the Democrats, and very good for Republicans: if they win the House in November, it will probably be to news that unemployment is dipping, a trend that should continue until early 2011. They would, of course, attempt to take full credit for the change, acting as if it were the euphoria over their election wins and the expectation that they would pass tax cuts for the wealthy that spurred the gains–despite the fact that it would be the tail end of the stimulus and the special employment due to the census. Even more ironically, the trend would have continued far upwards and might even have taken us out of our dire economic straits had not the Republicans cut the stimulus down to well below what it should have been.

Nor would I be surprised if (a) the downturn in unemployment ends somewhere around February or March 2011, and (b) Republicans attempt to blame it on the Democrats for not going along with all the crap they will try to ram through the House the moment they have the gavel.

I don’t have a sterling reputation for political and economic prognostication, though, so let’s see how this plays out. In the meantime, it looks like Americans are blaming the bad economy on those who have done a good job repairing it so far, and are set to hand over power to the party that caused the worst of it and has hampered the recovery. You get what you deserve. Too bad about all the people who you’re dragging down with you.

A Different Angle

October 19th, 2010 11 comments

I have to ask myself: If the Senate race in my state were between an extremist, nutball Democrat and a dislikable Republican, who would I vote for?

It’s a tough question that really needs a concrete example before deciding–one tends to vote along party lines, figuring on policy or party strength. But my current attempt to understand what’s happening in Nevada, where the people there seem poised to vote in a truly bizarre and reprehensible person–adds a significant twist to the equation.

For me, the issue demands that I find an example of a Democratic politician who is as crazy, extreme, and just plain weird as Sharron Angle. And honestly, I am coming up blank.

Unable to find someone as extreme on the left, let’s imagine one, taking a look at her positions and going just as far in the other direction.

Imagine a Democratic candidate who believes that we should strive toward a world government run by the United Nations. That abortion should be allowed at any stage of pregnancy without any restriction. That global warming is true to the extent that the scenario from The Day After Tomorrow will happen in the very near future. That we should double spending on entitlement programs. That atheism–not just separation of church and state–should be pushed as a social standard. That all oil drilling should be banned. Guns should be banned as well. And that not only marijuana, but all drugs should be legalized.

Going down this list makes me appreciate how non-radical Democrats are in relation to Republicans. We just don’t have the same extremes, frankly, no matter what the conservatives claim. When I wrote the list above, I was simply going through Angle’s positions and reversing them–but on review, they do read like a list of what many wingnuts claim liberals are secretly all about, what we privately wish for.

For me, however, it makes an extremely unappealing candidate. While some of the positions sound nice in theory, I do not accept them as viable proposals. Things like world government, or true (not what has ever been practiced in reality) socialism are nice ideals but unworkable in the real world as it exists, and attempts to enact them would be disastrous. I don’t agree with unrestricted abortion; I think we have a good compromise right now. I accept climate change theories, but don’t see them as being nearly as near-future disastrous as that movie portrayed, and a person who feared that might act irrationally. I think that reform of entitlement programs would be in order, but see it as preferable to keep them closer to what they are now, not striking them or bloating them. I believe in freedom of religion, not the advocacy of one belief by the state. I favor a transition to clean energy, not an unthinking, jarring shock before we’re ready. I’d love a world without guns, but that’s not where we live. The drug policy is the only one I’d actually approve of–I think legalization and emphasis on treatment would be far better than what we have today.

However, overall, that list of positions is not only far more extreme than I am, but the denial of reality such positions would represent, and the lack of trust I would have in such an extremist would make me highly uncomfortable. I would at the very least be highly unmotivated to vote for such a person, even if to keep a similarly extreme Republican out of the race.

But what if it was between that Democrat and a Republican who was the analogue of Harry Reid–ineffectual, bumbling, unlikable, but politically relatively tame. Reid, for example, is not pro-choice, and at least tepidly supports the “Defense of Marriage” position. Turn that around and have a Republican who is pro-choice and supports gay marriage (though falls short of committing to it). That kind of moderate posturing, even if just for show, would mitigate a lot of the discomfort about the candidate. And if he’s an unlikable, ineffectual Republican, that’s actually a plus–it might help the Democrats politically, whereas a crazy extremist Democrat would probably have the opposite effect and could even disrupt the party’s workings.

Given the whole scenario: I would vote for the Republican. Honestly. And I am pretty liberal.

Which makes the prospect of Nevadans voting for Angle a mystery to me. I mean, in the scenario above, I would be calling liberals voting for the Democrat unreasonable and unthinking. So what are Nevadans thinking?

Here We Go Again

October 17th, 2010 7 comments

Right-wingers jumping on the inane for political traction: Michelle Obama went to her polling place in Illinois to cast her ballot early for the midterm elections. Naturally, she draws a lot of attention–people talking to her, taking photos, etc. One of them, afterwards, tells a reporter:

“She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband’s agenda going.”

RED ALERT!!! The Drudge Report breathlessly gives its take on the story (the link will probably dissolve after a short time, so here’s a grab of the page code, minus ads):


First lady Michelle Obama appears to have violated Illinois law — when she engaged in political discussion at a polling place!

Right-wingers instantly fell on it. One newspaper pundit immediately called on Mrs. Obama to apologize:

She is a Harvard-trained lawyer who broke the law. No one is saying she should be prosecuted. It’s wrong. It’s unlawful. It’s worthy of a public apology.

A blogger at American Thinker was scandalized, and not a little creative:

Ever the pragmatist, Michelle, after voting in full-blown campaign mode, allegedly decided to encourage voters to vote Democratic in close proximity to where voters actually vote. Mrs. Obama posed for polling place pictures and then, according to Mr. Dennis Campbell, after smiling for the camera turned to remind him “how important it was to vote to keep her husband’s agenda going.” …

If, in the end, Michelle’s valiant efforts – criminal or otherwise – fail to turn the tide in favor of Democrats, on Election Day Barack and Michelle can always rely on Black Panther “prayer circles” to keep “clean spirits” from voting.

Note: I had to check to see if that last one was satire. I don’t think it is.

Pajamas Media also started sounding the alarm:

Today, when Michelle Obama voted early in Chicago, she reportedly told a voter that he needed to vote to keep her husband’s legislative agenda alive. This took place in an area where such electioneering is prohibited by Illinois law. The law has criminal consequences.

Like the New Black Panther case, photographs exist of the lawbreaking. And like the dismissal of the New Black Panther case, the administration has swung into action to abet lawbreaking. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the first lady supports her husband’s agenda.

Like so much about the New Black Panther case, that isn’t the point. The point is the rule of law, that precious institution that makes America thrive and, in her darker hours, survive. Laws should apply equally to everyone, whether a president or a prisoner. That is the revolutionary idea that drove our revolution.

Fascinating how the Black Panthers keep getting mentioned, isn’t it? Because I’m sure they were involved somehow.

There are a lot of other examples, from news and blog sources, but you get the idea.

The problem: Michelle Obama did nothing wrong, and even if she had, it would be so innocuous as to be laughable. But she didn’t, as many have pointed out–even, after some thought, Fox News–a blogger for which, strangely, covers all the bases (I hope he still has a job tomorrow):

It all depends on what Obama actually said to the group of voters. Had she specifically told Campbell he needed to vote for a candidate who would support President Obama’s agenda, she would indeed have violated Illinois election laws, as would someone wearing a campaign button or distributing political literature inside a polling place. But according to a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections, Obama made no such statement.

Rather, the elections official said, Obama told the group how important it is to vote early and vote in general, a perfectly appropriate suggestion at a polling place. Campbell’s characterization of the conversation may simply have included his political position, that he voted “to keep her husband’s agenda going,” but not that the first lady had specifically encouraged Campbell to support Obama-friendly candidates.

Even if one of the other voters had mentioned their support for President Obama and the first lady agreed, she would still not be in violation of election statutes because she would not, in that case, have initiated the political conversation. The Chicago Board of Elections has not, at this time, made an inquiry into the matter.

Many other right wingers have taken a more “moderate” approach, blogging on the impropriety and/or giving it the “you decide” treatment. But in the end, it’s a whole lotta nothing.

The fact is, it was just one secondhand comment, almost offhand, not verified, not even checked–and we get a flurry of attention from the whole thing. The right-wing blogosphere and media machine, on the job.

But this is typical of the right wing: you have Christine O’Donnell spending campaign money to cover personal expenses–illegal, but who cares? California’s Whitman hired an illegal alien and lied about it–who cares? In 2008, McCain clearly violated campaign funding laws–who cares? When Republicans commit serious laws regarding or during a campaign, we’re supposed to ignore it. But when the First Lady says something in support of her husband when people approach her in a polling place–and actually breaks no laws–we should be aghast and scandalized, and we deserve a public apology.

You can go back many elections and see the same BS: Republicans violate serious laws, get a bye, but then jump all over Democrats for technical violations that aren’t even violations. It falls into the pattern–excuse what’s happening on the right by making up crap about the left while trying as much as possible to capitalize on it secondarily–like Republicans committing election fraud while accusing Democratic voters of voter fraud, then using that in attempt to squelch the Democratic vote (Michigan State Senator John Pappageorge in 2004, “If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we’re going to have a tough time in this election”).

All in good fun, though, right?

How Low Can You Go?

October 15th, 2010 11 comments

Right wingers seem to be constantly pushing the envelope these days. The latest example? A billboard showing four versions of Obama: terrorist (He’s a Muslim!), gangster (from Chicago!), bandito (Headless torsos are his fault! Somehow!), and gay man (he doesn’t bash gays!). The Obamas are playing poker, all carrying triple sixes (They’re all cheating! And they’re all the AntiChrist!), gambling with the constitution, the bible, the liberty bell, Lady Justice, Uncle Sam, and our troops, while sinister-looking rats (Get it? DemocRATS? That’s so original!) labeled IRS, trial lawyers, the EPA and the Fed scurry under the table, and grinning vultures labeled “George Soros” and “U.N.” wait for Obama to kill off America so they can pick at the carcass.


Jesus. I mean, we had a great deal to hate about Bush, but I’m not sure we ever went this far, even on web sites, much less on a public billboard. But it does show the level of complete and utter fantasy the right wing is indulging in, buying the science fiction Fox peddles as gospel.

It would be hard to image what asinine, racist, homophobic, bigoted scare imagery they didn’t include. No, wait–I don’t see him as a nazi or as a communist. Unless the Mexican is a socialist and the gay man is a closet Nazi.

The person or group who commissioned the billboard and determined its content is staying hidden–apparently they’re either too connected or too embarrassed to admit to putting this thing up. I would guess the former–one has to have little or no shame to pay for something like this.

What Republicans Would Cut

October 10th, 2010 1 comment

The Republicans always promise cuts, but are too gutless to actually say what they’re going to cut. One reason for this is simple: most of the things they want to cut are popular, and if they gave a complete list of full cuts, it wouldn’t amount to nearly as much as they claim they’ll save. Of course, the biggest reason is that they’re slick political operators: they know that any specifics will piss off someone, and so they remain as vague as possible whilst sounding as adamant as can be, knowing that most voters will stupidly buy the sham hook, line, and sinker.

But they made a bit of a slip in their “Pledge to America”: they said they would cut 21% from $477 billion of domestic discretionary spending in the Stimulus. And since we know what is in that spending specifically, it is possible to get a few things the GOP would rather we not see–that being actual specific. And the specifics are not pretty, as we reflect on the fact that–unlike the GOP plan to cut taxes for billionaires–most if not all of what the Dems want to spend is actually productive and badly needed. Bloomberg figured out a few things that the GOP would actually cut:

  • $15 billion from education
  • $13 billion from money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure
  • $6 billion from health research, such as the National Cancer Institute and other research
  • $5 billion from student tuition in the form of Pell Grants
  • $400 million from police forces nationwide

Not hard to figure out why they didn’t get specific, is it? Now, military spending, they’ll protect, especially stuff like the missile defense program, stuff that pours billions into corporate research that pays off the least in terms of jobs and infrastructure, but does great for their patrons. But you and me? We can go suck it.

Daniel Dilger at Roughly Drafted had a good sum-up in his piece on large corporate mergers (Microsoft and Adobe are looking to get together), saying:

We now have the product of a decade of pro-consolidation, anti-regulation public policy: banks and massive corporations control the government and entertain the middle class with the notion that they should give up any demand for “socialist” benefits in exchange for providing multinational monopolies with the freedom to pay low wages, syphon their profits into tax shelters, and pay no regard to any sort of environmental issues or invest anything into the proper education and critical infrastructure of the nation.

Understanding this setup helps one see why Republicans hate the kind of spending listed above. Education money does not go into the coffers of large corporations; if teachers get paid and schools get supplies, how does that help the establishment? All it does is make the next generation a bit smarter, which does not help the establishment maintain control. And infrastructure? If the government builds it, how can private industry charge for it? Health research? Doesn’t that cut into Big Pharma’s field? And a lot of that might be research telling the corporations how dangerous their products are.

No, money going directly to people doing their jobs and young people learning to think are counterproductive to the society that today’s GOP wants to build. They don’t want people to be employed without private industry getting their cut off the top, they don’t want the electorate to get too smart (especially off the public’s dime, which goes equally for everyone, or–gasp–to the poor, who need it most), and they certainly don’t want people to see government doing anything right for fear that private industry would not be able to do the same thing while charging more for the profit they skim.

Sorry, just felt like a rant today. Short story: cuts always hurt someone, they always gore somebody’s ox. That’s why government abhors not spending.

Categories: Economics, GOP & The Election Tags:

I’m You

October 6th, 2010 2 comments

Christine O’Donnell aired an ad recently, one which some in the punditry feel will work for her. The commercial has her appearing in a dark room and saying soothingly:

I’m not a witch. I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you. None of us are perfect, but none of use can be happy with what we see all around us. Politicians who think spending, trading favors, and backroom deals are the way to stay in office. I’ll go to Washington, and do what you’d do.

Well, as it happens, I got a copy of the original script for that commercial, the “extended version,” if you will. I believe it was drafted under some full-disclosure act or something. Here’s how it reads:

I’m not a witch. Nor am I a Hare Krishna. I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you. Yes, just like you, I’m a hard-right-wing homophobic Creationist. I have credibility–I know, because I audibly heard God tell me so. And like you, I would never lie, not even to Nazis looking for Jews hiding in my attic–though I did kind of lie about my college education on several web sites. And on my resume. And, oh yeah, in a lawsuit. Just like you.

And like you, I failed to pay my tuition, legal fees, mortgage, and taxes until an IRS lien and the lawsuit from the mortgage company forced me to sell my house to my lawyer boyfriend. Like you, I haven’t had a steady job in years, and have been illicitly paying personal expenses with my campaign credit card. And like you, I filed a $6.95 million lawsuit for gender discrimination when my conservative employer didn’t give me the job I wanted after I was on national TV and everything.

Like you, I believe that homosexuals have an identity disorder, are attacking our freedom, and are getting away with nudity, lasciviousness, perversion, and blasphemy. Like you, I believe that condoms spread AIDS and that scientists are creating mice with fully functioning human brains. Yes, like you, I am a hardcore Catholic who believes that masturbation is adultery and school shootings are caused by lack of prayer. No, I’m not a witch, but like you, I believe that Gen-X’ers are Satanists, and that co-ed college dorms might as well be orgy rooms. And I find Middle Eastern censorship refreshing because they don’t have smut all the time, like we do here; like you, I believe we should be more like them when it comes to sexuality.

And politically, I am just like you: I believe that Bush did a great job with the economy and that Iraq had WMD but hid them all before we got there. And like you, I have classified intelligence telling me that China is plotting to invade America. And that Obama has death panels and women in the military cripple defense readiness.

Just like you.

None of us are perfect. Especially not me. But you should ignore all of that crap about me because bad stuff is happening, and despite the fact that people like me caused it, you should just mindlessly vote against Democrats. And despite the fact that all politicians are the same on this, think only about the Democrats when I remind you that politicians think spending, trading favors, and backroom deals are the way to stay in office. Like Sharron Angle, with DeMint’s juice all over her!

Yes, I’m you. And I’ll go to Washington, and do what you’d do. Exactly what that might be, I’ll leave to your imagination.

I believe they had to cut it down for time reasons.

And yes, all of the quotes and facts are real. A few general truths were tossed in, but that’s mostly O’Donnell’s own words in there, mixed in with verifiable facts about her. Sources: here and here.

Republican Victory = Endless Fake Investigations & Abuse of the Legal System

October 1st, 2010 Comments off

Another reason to get out the Democratic vote in November: Republicans are making no secret of the fact that if they get the gavel back in the house, they will “bombard the Obama administration with subpoenas.” Do not doubt that for a millisecond. Think that Republicans will jump right on stuff like jobs and the economy? Then you’re not very observant. They have other priorities, the same ones they’re been displaying for years now. They won’t change.

Most people think back on the 90’s and remember only Monica Lewinsky–and forget that Republicans were subpoena-happy back then, starting investigations at the drop of the slightest rumor. Every hint of scandal got a special prosecutor assigned, it seemed, and every rumor and conspiracy theory generated more hearings. Personal issues of staffers, hirings & firings, fundraising, investments–actual convictions were almost non-existent, but Republicans were probably happy spending most of their time abusing the legal system to search and dig and search and dig some more for any new dirt on the Clintons. For eight years, pretty much from day one to the day Clinton left office and beyond, Republicans engineered a non-stop barrage of smears, accusations, and prosecutions. Think I’m exaggerating? Republican Rep. Dan Burton issued more than a thousand subpoenas against Clinton and/or Democrats between 1997 and 2002.

The Democrats investigated the Bush administration only with great reluctance and deference, allowing them to testify without being under oath even with incredibly serious issues to deal with–torture, violating the Constitution, a complete failure to act to stop 9/11 despite a good deal of warning and evidence it was coming. Bush was never investigated for a host of very serious and very real scandals that dwarf the Clinton investigations in scope and scale. The fact that the Dems, despite having both houses of Congress and the White House, pretty much completely laid off the Bush administration after it departed, will have absolutely no influence on Republicans should they gain the House and the power to start another 90’s style tidal wave of phoney-baloney investigations. My guess is that they privately see the Democratic reluctance as idiotic weakness–a weakness they do not suffer from.

Already many have promised the return of the non-stop investigations–Darrel Issa, Michele Bachmann, James Clyburn, Jim Sensenbrenner and more–including the man who would be speaker, Boehner himself–have pledged outright that the barrage will start from day one, and they’re serious. And we’re not talking about real stuff, remember; unlike the Clintons, Obama doesn’t have much in the way of actual scandal. So the Republicans are going to sink even deeper into conspiracy-theory territory than they did in the 90’s. Obama’s birth certificate? Subpoenas! ACORN? Who cares if it doesn’t even exist anymore? More subpoenas! Remember those “Climategate” emails that were debunked? There will be investigations! The Stimulus? Subpoenas! Health care reform? Subpoenas! TARP? Subpoenas! Wait, aren’t those just Obama’s policies? No, they’re Obama’s scandals!!

Investigate! Investigate them all! Subpoena every piece of paper in D.C.! You think Obama doesn’t have any scandals? Well, just you wait–we’ll make it seem like he does! People will say, “With all those allegations, he’s bound to be guilty of some of them!” And who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and actually find something they did wrong–and then we’ll make the investigations before that look like a freaking boy scout jamboree! If there’s one thing Republicans are good at, it’s smearing and creating the impression that something or someone they don’t like is corrupt. With legal powers to issue subpoenas, they will be gaining a weapon of credence to make those smears look like legitimate legal claims.

Now, ask yourself–is this an equivalency thing? Are the Dems just as bad? Let’s see: when Obama and the Dems took office, did they immediately start to investigate Republicans and abuse their subpoena power to discredit Republican policies? Hell, no. They jumped out the starting gate and passed the stimulus–and saved millions of jobs.

If you vote for the Republicans because you think the Democrats have failed and the Republicans will get results, then I’m sorry, but you’re a flaming idiot. There is simply no kind way to put that, but it must be said. Republicans will investigate (ample evidence above), they will grandstand (pass bills they know will fail, and never make realistic compromises), and they will obstruct (use the House in addition to the filibuster), and make things even worse than they are now.

Democrats, get off your asses and vote. I don’t give a crap if you’re disappointed–if you fail to vote, to vote in great numbers, then you will be horrified at the depth and scale of your error a year from now.

The choice is clear: one party is trying to dig the country out of the ditch, and the other one is trying to dig the ditch deeper so the ones trying to get us out look bad. Which way do you want to go?



By the way, feel free to copy, re-use, and distribute the above graphics. Attribution would be nice but not necessary.