An Ohio Tea Party candidate seeking to oust Republican House Speaker John Boehner has released a Viagra-themed campaign ad (video below) that is actually pretty funny. J.D. Winteregg’s ad hits all the top Tea Party talking points. He’s anti-immigration, pro-gun and promises to defund ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood. And for some reason he also felt it necessary to declare his opposition golf.
Winteregg is just one of many Republican fringe candidates taking on establishment GOP figures like Boehner. He doesn’t have much chance of winning, but he can certainly be a major annoyance and, by reminding conservatives of all the things they hate about Boehner, he can contribute to Republican voters sitting out the election in November.
The ad slams Boehner as having “Electile Dysfunction” as a result of being in Washington, D.C. too long. It shows Boehner in videos being chummy with President Obama, a fatal flaw to the close-minded, Tea Party bigots who consider such fraternization to be akin to treason. And it charges Boehner with being spineless for having given in to liberals. Apparently shutting down the government for three weeks, supporting Darrell Issa’s McCarthyite inquisitions, and holding 50+ votes to cripple the Affordable Care Act is an expression of weakness in the eyes of Tea Party extremists.
Perhaps the the best moment in the ad is when the announcer gets to the disclaimer and warns that…
“If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.”
With that Winteregg has distinguished himself as the only candidate with the guts to make a dick joke in his official campaign video. And while it may not help him to win the primary, it’s a pretty good bet that he’ll get an invitation to appear on Bill Maher’s show after he loses. It will also get him some attention from the press, which is surely the whole point of the ad. The problem being that it will likely get more play on MSNBC than on Fox News.
And therein lies the flaw in Winteregg’s media strategy. It is not likely to appeal to the conservative media that he needs to rally voters. Consequently, the people most likely to vote for him may never see the ad. Democrats, on the other hand, will love the ad but will never vote for a far-right Tea Partier whose platform consists of nothing but negative attacks on Democratic policies and politicians.
So with this ad Winteregg has demonstrated that he (or more likely his media advisers) has a sense of humor, but he has also revealed that he has no idea how to manage a successful campaign. Which, of course, is also good for Democrats as well as Speaker Boner…er…Boehner.
In the past five years since Rick Santelli, a correspondent for CNBC, led a bevy of options traders on an anti-government rant, the Tea Party has gained enormous influence over conservative politics and particularly the Republican Party. Despite their small numbers, Tea Party Republicans have dominated the GOP in Congress and beyond. They threaten establishment Republicans with primary challenges and negative media campaigns. And all of this has occurred while appealing to less than a third of the American people and registering their lowest favorability ever.
The GOP today is no more popular than the sagging Tea Party. Following their crushing losses in 2012, the RNC produced a study that they themselves referred to as an autopsy that contained a laundry list of suggestions for reviving their future prospects. High on the list was expanding their outreach to African-Americans, Latinos, women, and young voters. However, in practice they have only further alienated all of those critical groups since the report was issued.
Recognizing the emerging trends, the Republican National Committee has conceded that they are no longer an effective organizational unit. Consequently, insiders are reporting that the party will soon announce a major reorganization, the principle feature of which will be a re-branding of the party of Lincoln with an even older historic reference: The Tea Party.
This turn of events may come as a surprise to many rank-and-file Republicans, but hints of this fundamental transformation were visible to those paying close attention. Michael Steele, the former chairman of the RNC, addressed this a couple of years ago saying that…
“It’s important for our party to appreciate and understand [the Tea Party] so we can move toward it, and embrace it.”
The current RNC chair, Reince Priebus (whose name without the vowels is RNC PR BS), has also attempted to erase the line delineating the Tea Party from the GOP saying that…
“It’s not Tea Party tactics. This is what the American people want.”
Of course, every poll shows that that statement is not true. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to wrap themselves in Tea Party linens. House Speaker John Boehner joined the choir saying that…
“There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the Tea Party activists believe in.”
The ribbon round the package has to be Sarah Palin’s admonition in a speech she gave to the National Tea Party Convention:
“The Republican Party would be really smart to start trying to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible because this is the future of our country. The Tea Party movement is the future of politics.”
It may be the sentiment in that speech that resulted in Palin being tapped to become the chair of the newly reconstituted GOP. Sources say that she was chosen by acclamation among an elite group of Republican Party leaders during a closely guarded conclave last week at the Florida residence of David Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers who are responsible for bankrolling the Tea Party since its inception. Others in attendance were said to include Texas senator Ted Cruz, radio politi-vangelist Glenn Beck, outgoing House Tea Party caucus chair Michele Bachmann, and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (who was sporting a “Draft Putin 2016″ button on his lapel).
The process of converting from Republicans to Tea Partiers will not begin in earnest until after the mid-term elections in November. After that there will be a flurry of activity from construction and furnishing to letterhead and logos. And by 2016 what was once referred to as the “Grand Old Party” (and more recently as the “Greedy One Percent”) will be a footnote in American history.
But don’t expect these changes to be anything more than cosmetic. The all new Tea Party will still be an intolerant, compassionless, science-denying, theocratic, advocate for corporations and the rich. Whether they are called Republicans or Tea Partiers, they are still committed to wealthy interests and opposed to ordinary working Americans. Some things never change.
[Update 4/2/2014] April Fools! But for the record, the first two paragraphs and all the quotes are true. So the re-branding has already occurred in principle.
It’s hard to know how to present the discussion that took place this weekend on Fox News. During their recurring segment on Political Insiders, Fox contributor Pat Caddell floated his theory that it is Republicans who are responsible for the alleged targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS (video below).
Caddell: The establishment Republicans want the IRS to go after the Tea Party. Got it? They want to go after the Tea Party. Because the Tea Parties are an outside threat to their power hold. And, I’m telling you, the lobbying, consulting class of the Republican party, the Republican leadership, who have been attacking the Tea Parties and alienating them, they want the IRS doing this.
If that’s true, then Caddell has uncovered a clandestine plot by the GOP to sabotage their strongest conservative allies and most reliable Republican activists and voters. Did the Republicans infiltrate the IRS and orchestrate a strategy to deny Tea Partiers tax-exempt status? Did they conduct sham hearings in the House, led by the crusading committee chair (and recidivist criminal) Darrel Issa, all the while maneuvering secretly to oppress Tea Party organizations and cast the blame on Democrats? It’s not unlike a scenario I mockingly offered last year that accused the GOP of a False Flag Operation.
It’s kind of a brilliant plan that would stifle intra-party rivals while putting Democratic foes in a negative light. And there are elements of the story that could be corroboration for such a plot. For instance, it turns out that the IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, and Lois Lerner, the head of the agency’s Tax-Exempt Organizations division, were Republicans hired by George W. Bush. So it never made sense that they would be engaged in a conspiracy to help Democrats silence the Tea Party.
On the other hand, Caddell could in the throes of severe dementia resulting in his imagining a wild conspiracy wherein the GOP is just another enemy of the patriots waving tea bags around. If his musings hold weight, should we expect Issa to convene new hearings indicting Republicans for their complicity in the alleged scandal? For that matter, can we expect apologies from Issa, and dozens of other Republican politicians and pundits, who falsely accused the Democrats of conspiring against the Tea Party?
So which is it? Is Caddell breaking news or smoking crack? It’s often hard to tell with many of the ludicrous theories that waft from the halls of Fox News.
The rightist wing of the Republican Party (aka Tea Party) has never been shy about making fools of themselves, particularly with regard to popular culture. An advertisement by Cheerios that featured a biracial family was a recent example of this as the conservative wackos went ballistic over a tweet that correctly predicted they would hate the ad. Following that, Coca-Cola incited wingnut rage by committing blasphemy with a multilingual rendition of “America the Beautiful” during the Superbowl.
Not content to growl menacingly at heart warming celebrations of America’s diversity, Tea Party factions are now claiming that their bigoted tantrums have won them a victory over the liberal multiculturalists in charge of the international soda conspiracy.
Breitbart News is reporting that Coke has “surrendered” to the Tea Party after complaints that their commercial offended right-thinking conservative xenophobes who are unable to tolerate people who show their love for America in a variety of languages.
It is the evidence of this surrender that is so strikingly preposterous. The Coke ad was reworked a bit when it was broadcast during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. A short segment was added to the beginning of the ad with the words “E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.” It is that modification that the BreitBrats are asserting is proof that their vilification of human harmony was successful. So let’s get this straight. Coke, they said, “bowed to conservative critics” who insist on English-only by inserting a short phrase in — Latin.
These are the same rocket scientists who carried signs to their Tea Party rallies saying “Government hands off of my Social Security.” They are the same people who pledged to burn their ObamaCare cards (which do not exist). And now they think that appending a Latin phrase onto an ad is a testament to their strength in getting a cold corporation to acquiesce to their demands for an English-centric America.
All I can say is ach du lieber. These people are obviously loco. If they had any esprit de corps with their fellow Americans they wouldn’t show such disdain toward them, capiche? After all, these are the villains upon whom they are showering their hate:
The right-wing outrage machine is a sensitive instrument that requires little more than a sideways glance to set off a fierce rumbling. For instance, a tweet that noted that conservatives would hate a Cheerios commercial with a biracial family, that they already said they hated, produced a fury of immense proportions. But where is their outrage when this happens:
In a town hall meeting in the district of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-Tea Party), one of his God fearing, traditional values loving constituents rose to express her patriotic desire to send President Obama to the morgue:
Crazy Lady: “Obama, he’s not president, as far as I’m concerned, he should be executed as an enemy combatant. [...and congress is...] doing nothing and that legally allows this moron to make decisions. He has no authority. None!”
Obviously this woman has an inability to grasp the concept of democracy. But far more disturbing is the response of her neighbors (who laughed) and Rep. Bridenstine. Rather than admonish her for advocating birtherism and treasonous violence, Bridenstine validated her comments with examples of why he agreed with her:
Bridenstine: “Everybody knows the lawlessness of this president. He picks and chooses which laws he’s going to enforce or not enforce. He does it by decree. When he can’t create a law, or when he can’t create a law through Congress, then he uses the bureaucracies of the executive branch to create rules and regulations through executive order. And, ultimately, when he can’t even get that done, then he uses foreign bodies. He uses the United Nations to try to change the laws in the United States.”
Nothing in his response repudiated the woman’s presidential death wish. To the contrary, Bridenstine elaborated on it with charges that are the substance of the most inane conspiracy theories that swirl through Fringelandia. The right is fond of castigating this president for the use of executive orders, even though he has used them less often than any president in over a hundred years. Just today, over at Fox News, their Fox Nation website featured an article about Obama’s “Executive Order Tyranny.”[Read Fox Nation vs. Reality for more than 50 examples of documented dishonesty]
But Bridenstine can’t let facts get in the way his Tea Party agenda. At least not while he is still standing in front of his wild-eyed constituents. After the meeting, and presumably some criticism, Bridenstine released this statement on his web page:
“A public figure cannot control what people say in open meetings. I obviously did not condone and I do not approve of grossly inappropriate language. It is outrageous that irresponsible parties would attribute another person’s reckless remarks to me.”
It’s true that a public figure cannot control what people say in open meetings. But he can respond in a manner that indicates his approval or disapproval. Bridenstine, contrary to his assertion that he did not condone the “grossly inappropriate language” (that he doesn’t specify), actually did condone it by not repudiating it, and worse, by embellishing it with his own pseudo-facts.
This sort of thing is commonplace among Tea Party politicians and pundits. They demonize the President, and all Americans who hold progressive views, as traitors and commies and villains who salivate at the thought of destroying America. Then they turn around and complain if a liberal correctly points out bad behavior by a Tea Party disciple. But they cannot escape their repugnant views when they are captured on video expressing them. And sadly, this is just one more example of their vulgar hostility and seething hatred.
In his response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, Levin went berserk over what he perceived as a tyrannical usurpation of power by the President. In Obama’s speech he castigated our do-nothing congress for its relentless obstructionism and gave them this rather diplomatic warning:
“I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
That’s all it took for the the right-wing outrage machine to get fired up and begin a frantic crusade against what they believe to be an unprecedented overreach. Of course, the truth is that every president has and uses his executive authority to proceed with initiatives that Congress fails to act upon. It is consistent with the constitutional jurisdiction of the executive branch of government, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from bellowing about dictatorship.
Mark Levin’s post-speech rant took the form of advice to the Republicans in congress. He concluded that they were to weak to do what he really wanted – which is to impeach Obama for some reasons he didn’t bother to specify. So he proposed an alternative in the form of a congressional resolution:
“Whereas the President of the United States has exerted executive powers not granted to him under the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives hereby asserts, as an equal governing institution, that all such acts by the President of the United States are null and void. The House of Representatives further asserts that no federal department, federal official, or federal employee is authorized to appropriate any sum of taxpayer dollars in furtherance of any unconstitutional act by the President of the United States.”
The Stupid Party (aka the Tea Party, aka the Republican Party) strikes again. First of all, no act by the President, or the Congress for that matter, is unconstitutional until the Supreme Courts says it is. The House of Representatives has no authority to unilaterally designate something the president does as unconstitutional. Secondly, any acts declared unconstitutional by the court are already null and void and don’t require a congressional resolution to be recognized as such. Nor is a prohibition of funding necessary for an act ruled unconstitutional. Since it cannot be carried out, no funds would be allocated to it.
What is laughably pathetic about Levin’s resolution is that it would probably fail the test of constitutionality itself were it ever enacted and challenged in the court. As noted above, the legislative branch cannot rule on the constitutionality of executive actions. And even more idiotic is the fact that Levin doesn’t seem to comprehend that his proposed law could not be enacted without the President’s signature. Does Levin think that Obama would sign this asinine bill?
So what does Fox News do with this utterly delusional rant by a crackpot who clearly doesn’t understand constitutional law? Well, they feature on their Fox Nation website along with all the other blatant lies and disinformation. And thus, the cycle of stupidity continues to flow from wingnut pundits to dishonest news outlets to an audience of willful dimwits.
As the public view of the rightmost fringe of the Republican Party (aka the Tea Party) continues in a downward spiral, the measures they are taking to rehabilitate themselves get increasingly pathetic. Take, for instance, today’s press release announcing the third annual Tea Party Conference.
The big attraction this year, that they say “will mark a turning point in Tea Party history,” is declared in the their opening question and answer: “What do Jewish, Black, Environmentalist and LGBTQ leaders have in common? They are all coming to The 3rd Annual Tea Party Conference.”
Wow! That IS historic. A Tea Party event that aims to represent the diversity of America. And it’s uncharacteristically honest of them to admit that their past has been dominated by straight, white, Christians, although everyone else has known this all along.
Of course, it remains to be seen who actually shows up for this conference and whether their attempt at inclusion is successful. One impediment to that is that the conference is something of mysterious affair. Their press release notes that the event will be held at “an undisclosed location In Marietta, GA.” That might make it difficult for people to attend. Further limiting attendance is the fact that it is an “invitation-only” affair, so I hope you got your invitation.
The organizers are promoting the conference with a press release that proudly declares that Stephen Colbert is one of those lucky invitees. That bit of hype is emblazoned in the headline and repeated in the body of the release saying…
“In order to ensure a fair and balanced dialogue on diversity, an invitation to speak is also being extended to America’s most beloved ‘conservative’ comedian: Stephen Colbert.”
What they don’t explicitly note is that Colbert has not accepted the invitation, nor is there any evidence that he even received it. Consequently, he has not indicated that he has any intention of attending the event, or even knows that it exists. But that didn’t stop the Tea Partiers from exploiting his name for its publicity value.
And in that same spirit of promotional quackery, I’d like to announce that Colbert, along with Michelle Obama and Batman, have been invited to my house for dinner to endorse my ebook “Fox Nation vs. Reality.” It’s a compendium of more than 50 examples of outright lies published on the Fox News community website. Like the Tea Party event, this dinner is invitation-only and will be held at an undisclosed location. That reminds me – I need to invite Dick Cheney.
The intrepid team of weasels at Breitbart News have published an “exclusive” scoop that threatens to sink the political career of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell participated in a conference call with Karl Rove’s Crossroads PAC and a couple of dozen conservative donors wherein they discussed the political strategies for future electoral victories.
The article on Breitbart News was authored by Matthew Boyle, a notoriously dishonest reject from Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller. Amongst his previous work for Breitbart was an article that invented the existence of ObamaCars, free vehicles that would allegedly be given out to illegal immigrants. He should be writing for The Onion.
In Boyle’s latest piece of fiction he claims to have an anonymous source who was on the conference call with McConnell and Rove and had some juicy tidbits to expose. The opening paragraph of Boyle’s article declared that…
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on a conference call organized by Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization for large donors and their advisers on Oct. 30 that the Tea Party movement, in his view, is a ‘nothing but a bunch of bullies’ that he plans to ‘punch … in the nose’”
Oh my lord. Mitch McConnell is threatening to assault the noses of some Tea Party bullies. And it must be true because there isn’t any indication in that paragraph that the remarks were conveyed by an unknown third party with no proof.
McConnell has had prior run-ins with Tea Party noses. [Author's Note: You cannot imagine the willpower it took to avoid saying that "Tea Party noses are running."] A couple of months ago McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who was hired specifically to appeal to Tea Party voters in Kentucky, was recorded telling a colleague about his reluctant association with McConnell. Benton said…
“Between you and me, I’m sort of holdin’ my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand [Paul] in ’16.”
Subsequent to that gaffe, the McConnell campaign released a lighthearted attempt at damage control showing McConnell standing next to Benton who was holding his nose. But now that we know how McConnell really feels about those Tea Party guys, perhaps Benton isn’t avoiding the stench. Maybe he just got slugged in the schnoz by the scrappy minority leader.
Ordinarily, embarrassing revelations about Republican politicians would be a welcome treat. And this one fits the bill because McConnell has previously expressed concerns about fringe candidates mounting primary challenges against sitting Republican senators and then losing winnable seats to Democrats. Boyle’s source told him that McConnell explicitly attacked the Tea Party and some of it’s rising stars like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.
Upon reading Boyle’s article, however, there were some gaping holes that a conscientious reader could not ignore. For instance, McConnell is a highly partisan, right-wing, attack machine, but he isn’t stupid. It seems highly implausible that he would make derogatory remarks amount a significant bloc of constituents during a telephone conference call on which he doesn’t know who might be listening. What’s more, by citing an anonymous source in this sort of political dust-up, Boyle prevents his readers from having any sense of who is making these charges. It might very well be a supporter of Matt Bevin, the Tea Party candidate who is challenging McConnell in his own Kentucky primary.
Boyle did include a response from a spokesman for Karl Rove who flatly denied the charge that McConnell had demeaned either the Tea Party or Cruz:
“Your source is ascribing things to the call that simply were never said [...] nothing about the Tea Party or Sens. Cruz or Lee.”
That unambiguous denial didn’t stop Boyle from posting an article that maligned McConnell. As it turns out, there was good reason to be suspicious of Boyle’s exclusive. Washington Examiner reporter Charlie Spiering did what real reporters actually do. He contacted Rove’s people and arranged to hear a recording of the conference call. In his column he noted that…
“McConnell’s comments about dealing with “schoolyard bullies” by punching them in the nose, as reported by Breitbart News, were accurate but were explicitly directed at the Senate Conservatives Fund, not the Tea Party or a specific conservative senator.”
So it appears that Boyle’s source was something less than credible, which is something that wouldn’t much bother Breitbart or Boyle. It is no secret that the BreitBrats are openly hostile to establishment Republicans and that they frequently promote Tea Party challengers. It would be consistent with their agenda for a mysterious McConnell critic to surface and assign comments to him that would harm his reelection effort. And Boyle is just the guy to invent a controversy that would help a candidate running against McConnell. It wouldn’t be the first time that Boyle has come to the aid of McConnell’s opponent. He’s written at least six other articles for Breitbart that feature Bevin favorably and McConnell disparagingly.
Despite the Examiner’s debunking of Boyle’s source, there has been no retraction on the Breitbart website. That’s typical of their shoddy brand of dishonest journalism. Even so, it’s hard to know who to root for in this affair. McConnell the repugnant, Republican pugilist, or Boyle the disreputable, right-wing hack. I must admit, though, it’s a highly entertaining show.
Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto has consumed an enormous amount of media attention since he was exposed as an unrepentant crack smoking slimeball. In the wake of that scandalous affair on America’s northern border, Florida, in a fit of envy, has entered the sweepstakes to claim the title of “Most Depraved Politics.”
Trey Radel is a freshman congressman who won election in a conservative Florida district by running as committed Tea Party crackpot. True to form, Radel began his term in the House by advocating the impeachment of President Obama without bothering to come up with any justification for doing so.
Today it was announced that he was arrested for cocaine possession in the District of Columbia. In the customary statement of contrition that is always delivered after getting caught, Radel used a familiar excuse for his depravity:
“I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”
Just like Mayor Ford, Radel only submitted to the sin of cocaine use because he must have been in a drunken stupor. In addition to his substance abuse problems, he had an interesting career prior to getting elected to Congress, including brokering pornographic Internet domain names. But even more interesting was his media resume:
Radel was trained as an actor and a comedian and performed improvisational work at Second City in Chicago. Radel began his working career as a journalist, working as both an anchor and as a reporter. He interned for CNN at their Headquarters in Atlanta. He then worked for the CBS affiliates in Houston and Chicago. He was a TV and radio talk show host of Daybreak, on WINK-TV & 92.5 Fox News Radio.
Fox News is deeply ingrained in this family as he is married to FOX-4 anchor Amy Wegmann. It will be interesting to see if Fox News reports Radel’s arrest on the air. A fallen Tea Party congressman ought to be big news. Fox would certainly report it if it were Democrat. Of course, Fox always has the option of reporting it but identifying him as a Democrat, a tactic they have used before.
It’s been a rocky couple of months for Democrats. After suffering through a government shutdown orchestrated by wing-nutsack Ted Cruz and the baleful John Boehner, Republicans embarked on a wild ride of ObamaCare bashing, Benghazi hoaxes, and all around crackpottery of the highest odor. So just in the nick of time the uber-rightist news aggregator, Townhall, has excreted a blast of crapola with the deranged headline, “8 Reasons The Republican Party Has A Bright Future.” Now, there could actually be some plausible reasons for Republicans to be throwing a Mad Tea Party, but the ones itemized in this article are uproariously funny.
1) We have the most potent grassroots movement in politics:
Their very first reason for jumping for joy cites their ownership of the Tea Party. If that is representative of the GOP’s bright future, then they can throw away their sunglasses. The Tea Party has been steadily losing support since their debut. Their “very unfavorable” numbers have tripled since 2010, and they currently can brag about an approval rating of 30%, an all-time low. That’s about the same as the Republican Party itself. And we’re just getting started.
2) 2010 was the GOP’s best year since 1948:
Recognizing a sixty-five year slump hardly seems like a good place to start a celebration. Especially when the only thing that Republicans have to look forward to is looking back fondly on the anomaly of an off-year election where low turnout and corrupt gerrymandering helped them to temporarily win control of the House. Even so, somehow they have erased from their simple minds the 2012 election where they lost to a gay, socialist, Muslim from Kenya, for the second time. And they also lost eight of the House seats, and two in the Senate, that they won two years earlier in their much ballyhooed best year in six decades.
3) We should control the House at least until the next census:
The article makes this assertion without providing any evidence to back it up. It is, at best, wishful thinking. They also seem to think that the past three years of having accomplished nothing more than 47 failed attempts to repeal ObamaCare amounts to “control” of the House. The truth is that, after being handed the reigns of power, they demonstrated their pitiful incompetence and a unique inability to govern. In addition, the article admits that their current majority is the result of gerrymandering, and that their primary legislative goal is to “slam the brakes on government.” However, most polls show that Democrats are in a better position than ever to retake the House in 2014, and last month’s government shutdown helps them toward that goal immensely.
4) The party is thriving on the state level:
They may have a point here. Republicans have concentrated fiercely on state politics for the past few years. Their financiers, including the Koch brothers, have devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to local races in order to hijack state governments for the purpose of suppressing votes, subjugating women, and subverting democracy through partisan redistricting. But Republican governors are still amongst the most reviled office-holders with characters like Rick Scott (FL), John Kasich (OH), and Rick Perry (TX), competing for Biggest Boob in America.
5) Our numbers with minorities are only going to go up:
Huh? Perhaps they didn’t finish that sentence and meant to say their numbers are going to go up in flames. After the 2012 election the GOP conducted what they themselves called an “autopsy,” in which they confessed to having no noticeable support from African-Americans or Latinos. So they set about to remedy that situation by passing laws aimed at keeping them from voting, by snubbing them by refusing to attend the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and by opposing any immigration reform that might treat them with respect. The article makes the racially insulting and absurd statement that “White Americans tend to vote Republican.” But the actual election results don’t concur. Obama won 40% of the white vote in 2012, which is more than Clinton did in 1992. It isn’t that whites vote Republican, it’s that Republicans are almost all white. Those are two very different things.
6) Short Term: Obamacare means a strong 2014:
So this is what the GOP is hanging their asshats on? To be sure, if things with ObamaCare go as badly in the next year as they have for the past month, Democrats will have a tough time of it. But if the ObamaCare website is fixed, and people like having access to affordable, quality health care, Republicans are going to be punished severely for opposing it. Remember, Social Security and Medicare also encountered resistance in the beginning.
7) Barack Obama gives us a medium term opening:
The crux of this reason for Republicans to cheer is their contention that Obama is “the single worst President in American history.” The article regurgitates just about every assault on the President that was lobbed during the 2012 election. Remind me again, who won that one? Additionally, Obama has lead a recovery from his predecessor’s economic debacle that has seen the stock market soar to all-time highs, businesses reporting record profits, and the only reason the economy isn’t producing more jobs is because the GOP has blocked every attempt to create them, even through infrastructure development that is critically necessary anyway. Then the GOP harangues the victims of their policies as lazy moochers, and moves to cut food stamps. If Obama is giving Republicans an opening, Republicans seem to be scurrying to fill it in with fresh dirt.
8) Long term, the ground is very unfavorable to the Democrats:
Once again, the article has no certifiable facts to support this argument. They quote Grover Norquist and Margaret Thatcher as if they are popular contemporaries whose ultra-conservative rantings are shaping the modern political landscape. Funny…they didn’t mention Ronald Reagan. They also didn’t mention that in 2016 Republicans will be defending 24 senate seats versus only 10 for Democrats. In 2014 the GOP is already setting up their next roster of Todd Akins and Christine O’Donnells. And the way the Tea Party is imploding, Nancy Pelosi will probably be returning to the speakership before too long.
Perhaps the funniest thing about the article is the photo that accompanied it. You really have to wonder whose great idea it was to feature a picture of John Boehner atop an article heralding the GOP’s bright future. But in their defense, who else would they use? Rand Paul? Ted Cruz? Sarah Palin? Or maybe the vulgar Jersey philistine, Chris Christie? Oh yeah, Republicans have nothing but blue skies ahead.
President Obama traveled to Texas this week to inform the citizens there that ObamaCare has benefits that specifically address their needs. Texas has the notorious distinction of being the state that has more uninsured residents than any other state in the country. A big chunk of that problem would be solved if Gov. Rick Perry and the state legislature would simply agree to expand their medicaid program to cover low income residents. It wouldn’t cost the state a single penny because it is paid for by the federal government.
Nevertheless, Perry has ruled out this expansion despite the fact that a million of his constituents will suffer needlessly due to his cynical politicization of health care. This will hurt real people who require medical attention who will not receive it, as well as people who manage to get care that they cannot afford, which will lead to financial hardships including home foreclosures and bankruptcies. Obama made reference to this dire situation in his address to the people of Dallas.
Obama: I think that all of you understand that there’s no state that actually needs this more than Texas. [...] Across this state, you’ve got a million people — because this is a big state — a million people, citizens, who don’t have health insurance that could get health insurance right away if the state of Texas decided to take advantage of [Medicaid expansion].
The response from Texas senator Ted Cruz to this common sense proposal was typically arrogant and insensitive. It exposed a deeply held animus for the President and disrespect for the office.
Cruz: President Obama should take his broken promises tour elsewhere so Texans can continue focusing on the solutions that have allowed our state to become and remain the nation’s economic and job creation powerhouse.
Where Cruz gets the idea that he has some authority to direct the President’s itinerary is unknown. However, what is even worse is his obliviousness to the tribulations of his fellow Texans. By focusing on the status of the state’s economy, Cruz drives home the point that the business class of Texas has prospered at the expense of working families. If Texas is such an economic success and job haven, then why are more of it’s residents struggling to get by without health insurance than any other state?
That’s a question that Cruz and Perry and the rest of the GOP Scrooges still refuse to answer. They have a no-cost solution available to them that would relieve the stress of millions, but they won’t accept it because of their overriding desire to sabotage the Obama presidency. Eventually they will have to explain that to voters.
The Tea Party has always been the GOP’s far-right flank. Despite its small membership and radical views, it has mustered up an undue measure of influence in the Republican Party due to its fanatical posturing and wealthy financial backers. Now a new study by the Pew Research Center sheds light on a profound split between Main Street Republicans and the deep right-field Tea Party. Pew’s research reveals that…
“Just 25% of Tea Party Republicans say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 61% of non-Tea Party Republicans.”
So a solid majority of Republicans recognize the reality of Climate Change that is affirmed by 97% of scientists who have studied the matter. But only 25% of Tea Partiers respect the peer-reviewed evidence of Climate Change. While some of the Tea Partiers say that they don’t have enough information as to whether the Earth is warming, a majority of the skeptics stubbornly insist that it’s “just not happening.”
This split between the Tea Party and the rest of their Republican pals in the public at large is not reflected in the GOP representation in Congress where a majority of the GOP caucus aligns itself with the deniers. Nor is it represented in the conservative media that stridently rejects any suggestion that the planet faces any climate risks. The inevitable result of that divergence is that a portion of the population is woefully misinformed about Climate Change. Even worse, the bias disseminated by right-wing media foments a distrust in science and scientists in general.
Consequently we see absurd departures from reality that are based strictly on partisan propaganda. When the White House issued an executive order to facilitate “efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources,” Fox News covered the event by saying that “Obama uses executive order in sweeping takeover of nation’s climate change policies.” The report had an alarmist tone in warning that the order will “potentially skirt legislative oversight and push a federal agenda on states.” Fox ignored the actual substance of the order that explicitly stated that “This order shall be implemented consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements and applicable U.S. law, and be subject to the availability of appropriations.” The language addressing appropriations specifically bows to the oversight authority of Congress that Fox denied existed.
Fox’s report further injected a partisan intent on the part of the White House to deliver climate policy implementation to a cabal of Democrats. Three separate times in the report Fox noted the presence of Democrats on the task force that the executive order created. Why that should surprise anyone is a mystery. The President is entirely within his rights to appoint members of his party to executive branch committees. More importantly, why would anyone go out of their way to put the sort of climate science deniers that dominate the Republican Party on a committee tasked with mitigating the effects of Climate Change? It would be like asking atheists to lead the Christian church’s membership drive.
By disseminating false and misleading information about Climate Change, Fox News has been a significant factor in dumbing down the small portion of the electorate that is glued to their network. The more gullible among them, specifically the Tea Party faction, have become ardent opponents of reform measures to address Climate Change. And now it appears that they have drifted so far from the GOP mainstream that they have little in common with the average Republican’s position on this issue.
Nevertheless, the Republicans in Congress will continue to obstruct reasonable reforms that are supported by the majority of America, and even the majority of their party. That defiance is directly attributable to their fear of Tea Party primary challenges and their dependence on Tea Party billionaires like the Koch brothers. Until the GOP unshackles itself from their extremist wing and exhibits a willingness to cooperate on issues where they share common ground, voters must replace them with either common sense Republicans or Democrats. And if the Pew study is any indication, Republican voters are getting ready to do just that.
The astroturf fraud known as the Tea Party was literally invented by a cabal of uber-rightist millionaires and corporations with interests in tobacco and oil. The prime movers were the Koch brothers, who transited from their father’s John Birch Society to their own front groups, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.
The financial firepower of these entities, however, was still not enough to elevate the Tea Party “movement.” It required an aggressive media sponsor to flood the news zone with faux-populist themes and give birth to the puppetized pundits and politicians who would carry the message. For that mission Fox News was all too ready to volunteer and even went to great lengths to brand the Tea Party as a Fox News subsidiary with promos touting their “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.” There can be no doubt that without Fox News there would be no Tea Party.
That makes the new column by Fox’s star attraction, Bill O’Reilly, all the more startling. His own headline reads “Is the Tea Party Over?” And by the end he answers the question with a resounding “Yes.”
“The only way the Tea Party can resurrect itself is for it to coalesce around a strong leader. There has to be a central message delivered by someone with charisma, a person who is reasonable and persuasive. The movement has been damaged both inside and out. Only a very intense public relations campaign will turn the tide.
“I don’t think that will happen. It would take millions of dollars in TV ads and organizational infrastructure for the Tea Party to negate the national media’s contempt. And that kind of big money operation goes directly against what the Tea Party people want to be – a citizen movement that operates independent of party structure.”
O’Reilly’s opinion, in short, is that “The only way the Tea Party can resurrect itself is for it to coalesce around a strong leader,” and “I don’t think that will happen.” O’Reilly is throwing recent Tea Darlings like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul under the bus, along with baggers like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann who are already there.
I’m not going to argue with O’Reilly’s conclusion because the Tea Party has always been a constructed reality. It never existed outside of the power structure of the Republican elite. There were no Tea Party candidates, conventions, voter registrations, or platforms. They were all Republican politicians, voters, and policies. However, there is much to disagree with in the path to O’Reilly’s eulogy.
First of all, O’Reilly’s contention that the Tea Party’s problem is a lack of leaders can only be taken seriously by a deaf and blind pundit who lives in a Himalayan cave. There are many who do, and who aspire to, lead the phony parade. Their problem is that they advocate a broadly unpopular set of policies that the American people emphatically reject. People like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin have favorable ratings that scrape the sea floor at record low levels, as does the Tea Party itself. The Tea Party doesn’t have a public relations problem, it has an agenda problem.
Secondly, O’Reilly seems to think that there hasn’t been enough money thrown at advancing the Tea Party mission. When he said that it “would take millions of dollars” which conflicts with the Tea Party’s alleged aversion to “big money operations,” he ignores the fact that the Tea Party has always been a big money operation financed with hundreds of millions of dollars by everyone from the Koch brothers to Karl Rove to the Republican National Committee, and dozens of mysterious Super PACs that keep their donor’s identities secret.
The central theme of O’Reilly’s column is that the Tea Party’s woes are all the result of the contempt of the media (as opposed to the contempt of the people). He says that “the Tea Party finds itself with an image problem and there are two primary reasons why.” The first of O’Reilly’s gripes is with the media, who he says “is at odds with Tea Party beliefs,” and that “demonizes the Tea Party all day long calling it racist, stupid and even worse – unsophisticated!” It’s telling that O’Reilly thinks it’s worse to be called unsophisticated than racist or stupid. But he may be onto something because, based on their behavior, most Tea Partiers don’t seem to be concerned about public displays of racism or stupidity.
The second of O’Reilly’s grips is with the media (just like the first gripe), but in this case it’s “the right wing media, which generally loves the party.” Here O’Reilly lays into the birther nutjobs who call the President a communist and a Muslim. In other words, most of the Tea Party and much of Fox News. O’Reilly attempts to take a stand for comity by declaring that “Hate is hate no matter what ideology you embrace.” This from the guy who opened the column by implying that the supporters of Occupy Wall Street “embrace violent tactics [and] infringe on the rights of the folks.”
So according to O’Reilly, the billionaire-backed Tea Party is not a big money operation, it has no national leaders unless you count the Cruzes and Palins and Pauls, and Limbaughs and Hannitys, etc., but it is plagued by a contemptuous media that hates them and an adoring media that loves them. [Warning: Don't try to make any sense of this. It can only lead to confusion, severe mental anguish, logical disorientation, and acute migraines]. However, if O’Reilly’s tortured contention is that what it all adds up to is that the Tea Party is over, let’s just cross our fingers hope that he stumbled onto the truth for a change. But in all likelihood, he is just carrying water for the establishment GOP who are trying desperately to distance themselves from Tea Party crackpottery out of fear that it is going to be a big loser for them in the 2014 elections. He, and they, are too late. Now they have to live (or perish, as the case may be) with the monster they created.
Last night the Senate finally crafted a bipartisan resolution to raise the debt ceiling and end the GOP/Tea Party driven shutdown. The sixteen days that government was closed had a materially negative impact on millions of Americans. Nearly 800,000 were furloughed from work. Many more were turned away from federal agencies that provide aid and public services for parks, education, etc.
The media will now spend days/weeks analyzing the repercussions and adjudicating winners and losers. While it may be apparent that the Republican Party and its extremist Tea Party wing have suffered a hobbling blow (their favorability has sunk to historic lows), the harm to the public at large cannot be dismissed. Although, sadly, it may be as the media ignores the ongoing strife in favor of reporting on horse-race style politics. Despite the relief we all feel that the immediate crisis was averted, there is still a price to be paid. And it isn’t cheap:
Yep, the shutdown cost America about $24 billion. That is courtesy of the allegedly fiscally responsible Republicans in Congress. Voters need to remember this in November 2014, and Democrats need to repeatedly remind them between now and then. Democrats only need to gain 17 seats in order to take the Speaker’s gavel out of John Boehner’s inept hands. Doing so will improve the prospects for economic recovery, job growth, infrastructure repair, environmental action, and progress on civil rights and income equality.
A change in party control of Congress won’t solve all of the nation’s problems. It won’t end radical Tea Party demands to repeal ObamaCare or for severe cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It won’t stop the birthers and the racists who disparage President Obama and oppose every policy put forth by Democrats. It won’t keep pseudo-patriots from advocating for war at every turn. And it won’t restore sanity to the global financial system that evades criminal responsibilities and exploits average people throughout the world.
However, it will remove from power a gang of nutjobs who hate Obama more than they love their country. It will bring Nancy Pelosi back to the Speaker’s office. It will install Democrats as the chairmen of all committees, replacing corrupt GOP ideologues like Darrell Issa, Dave Camp, and Paul Ryan. And it will put us on surer footing and give us a more productive legislative branch that actually has an interest in governing positively, and in building up America rather than in tearing it down. That’s progress.
Remember back in 2009 when Fox News was pulling out all the stops to promote the newborn Tea Party? They broadcast every town howl and invited an endless stream of tri-cornered hat wearing crackpots to rant about tyranny and Kenyan usurpers. Fox even branded the Tea Party movement as its own entity while beseeching viewers to attend rallies.
Well, this year they have not had much success pushing their fringe agenda. They spent months hammering away on Benghazi, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, and a bevy of second-tier scandalettes, but have been met with yawns. After Fox launched a campaign to hype the false allegation that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups for harassment, the national protest to “Rein In the IRS”drew tens of angry Teabaggers to IRS offices across the country.
The latest effort by Fox to pump up the right-wing wrath was a planned protest by America’s truckers to create the “biggest traffic jam in history” in Washington, D.C. Their promises ranged from thousands of truckers jamming the capital’s highways and arresting members of Congress, to hundreds of millions of citizens nationwide participating in a show of solidarity. This morning the protest began with nothing more than a trickle of trucks that failed to have any noticeable impact on traffic. Even Fox News posted a story reporting that “Dozens, not thousands, show up for DC trucker protest.”
The “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” was supposed to send a message to Washington that they were “sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America!” Apparently, the hordes of sickly, fatigued protesters never materialized. This will surely cut into their comically delusional list of demands that include that President Obama immediately resign from office.
Next up for the Fox News Protest Committee is an event targeting the closure of American memorials and monuments due to the Tea Party driven government shutdown (or slimdown, as Fox is calling it). On Fox’s community web site, the lie-riddled Fox Nation, they have posted an item that can hardly be characterized as news. It concerns something called the “Million Vet March” that is scheduled for this Sunday. That seems like bad planning on Fox’s part, because if the truckers rally had successfully stopped traffic in D.C., how would the vets get to their event?
The Fox Nationalists promotion of the Million Vet March was not actually a story about the proposed rally. It was a link to the web site of the political action committee that is sponsoring it, the Special Operations Speaks PAC. The PAC’s web site indicates that it was formed to lobby for a Watergate-style congressional committee to investigate Benghazi. Now they are taking a detour to protest the “vicious tyrant” in the White House who “shut down our nation’s war memorials and declared a war on our veterans!”
Never mind that it was the House Republicans who shut down the government and the memorials. The The bigger problem is that Fox is posting links to partisan activist organizations in the guise of reporting the news. If Fox had written a story about this march, or linked to a story written by another news outlet, that would be bad enough and they would still be guilty of proselytizing on behalf of a political cause. But Fox didn’t even bother to put that much distance between themselves and the fringe group organizing the march. They just linked directly to the organizer’s web site where you are greeted with a solicitation to donate.
It is pretty unlikely that anywhere near a million veterans are going to show up in D.C. on Sunday. So this event will be just as big a flop as the trucker rally. But both events demonstrate that Fox is not a news network, and they aren’t even pretending to be one anymore. They are a political advocacy enterprise and, measuring by their recent efforts, they aren’t even any good at that.
An odd item appeared this morning on the Fox News web site attacking the progressive organization MoveOn.org. It was the sort of substanceless filler that generally appears on rabid anti-Obama fringe sites. Beneath a headline reading “MoveOn.org tries to sideline Tea Party over shutdown fears,” the article revealed the shocking news that MoveOn.org is a liberal outfit that is seeking donations. You don’t say?
In the few paragraphs posted, Fox included a defamatory reference to a passage in MoveOn’s email that said “If we play our cards right, 2013 could become known as the year the tea party relegated itself to the dustbin of history.” In an effort to manufacture a negative association, the article asserted that the phrase “dustbin of history” was “borrowed” from Leon Trotsky. In fact, the phrase and its variations had been in use long before Trotsky uttered it, and it has even been used by Republican candidate for sainthood, Ronald Reagan, who said in June of 1982 “The march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history.”
The reason that this article was loaded with such blatant conservative rhetoric quickly became apparent. The item was sourced to a web site called Watchdog.org that presents itself as sort of a wire service. However, Watchdog.org is actually a right-wing, propaganda-spewing project that is funded by the Koch brothers through their Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. It is an unabashedly partisan source of slanted opinions and attack pieces. But now Fox is utilizing it as an affiliated reporting service. In effect, the Koch brothers have co-opted Fox to get their Tea Party agenda disseminated to Fox’s national audience in the guise of journalism.
As an example of the deceit employed by Watchdog.org, they castigated MoveOn for its early support from George Soros and for “putting a bulls-eye on the conservative Koch Brothers.” However, while defending the Koch brothers, nowhere in the article did the authors disclose that they actually work for the Koch brothers. That’s a pretty egregious omission. Furthermore, as a measure of their journalistic neutrality, the Watchdog reporter sought out quotes from four people for the article: the chair of the Tea Party Express, the chair and vice-chair of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, and the chair of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale. Fair and balanced, my ass.
A quick Google search on Fox News, and their related Fib Factory Fox Nation, turned up dozens of previous Watchdog-sourced articles that were published by Fox. Many of these articles are hit pieces on unions and environmental science, two issues that deeply interest the Koch brothers whose businesses have fought workers rights and have contributed to dirtying the air and water of every place they have a presence. In none of the articles did Fox provide disclosure of the Koch affiliation to the reporting.
It is clear that the infiltration by the Koch activists is complete. Fox News has long been associated with the conservative politics of the GOP, the Tea Party, and right-wing enterprises like Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and even WorldNetDaily. But now they have turned a corner and embraced the brazen biases of an activist corporation with vested interests in the stories they pretend to cover. So now, in the warped universe of Fox News, corporations are not only people, they are also journalists. And if, like the Koch brothers, you can afford to create your own fake wire service, you can get fake news networks like Fox to distribute your PR.
If this doesn’t cause Tea Party heads to explode, I don’t know what will.
[Actually, I do know what will: Anything President Obama says; or showing that the health care law is working; or suggesting that billionaires be tapped for more taxes instead of poor people; or saying anything bad about Sarah Palin. Actually, lots of things make Tea Party heads explode]
Today the Russian Communist Party’s internal organ, Pravda, published an article extolling the virtues of American conservatism and its natural harmony with the politburo mouthpiece. The article by Xavier Lerma was titled “Why Conservative Americans Admire Putin.” This is a rather astute observation considering how the GOP has so lovingly embraced the Russian president during the Syrian crisis. They have hailed him as a true leader and even proposed that Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize be given to Putin instead.
It has long been recognized that the authoritarian Russian right shares much in common with their comrades in the Tea Party. From subjugating women and opposing reproductive freedom, to denying rights to homosexuals and forbidding marriage equality, to clinging to radical nationalism; to replacing education with indoctrination and science denial; and most of all, they share a common hatred for the U.S. government. Now we can add religious fundamentalism and Obama Derangement Syndrome to the mix. Here is how the Pravda article opened:
“America’s president has torn his land into a thousand pieces. The propaganda media machine covers Obama’s trail of blood and shows the president in a good way without a word of dissent.”
That could have been copied almost verbatim from a Rush Limbaugh broadcast. But it gets even worse. After Pravda laments that “The modern Tea Party’s success was short lived by Obama’s illegal interference,” they pivot to a conspiracy theory of election theft that would make the late Andrew Breitbart proud. The article swallows whole the phony IRS scandal and offers it as evidence of Obama’s corruption, despite the utter lack of any evidence connecting him to it. Then the author asserts that “Americans watch Obama destroying their own country and the world [...and...] With no hero to save them they become frustrated and look to Putin,” whom they see…
“…kneeling at Christ’s Holy Sepulcher which Obama never does when visiting Jerusalem. They see him going to church when they know Obama favors Muslims who attack Christians and their churches. They see Putin establishing laws to protect the church and laws against homosexuality. This they admire and this brings them hope. Hope in their upside down world where there is a leader willing to follow Christ. They have no Reagan but they see Putin whom they wish was their president.”
There you have it. Obama is an anti-Christian, Muslim lover, while Putin is the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan. A devout, law and order Christian who can inspire the Teabagging masses. Putin is their 21st century savior who can restore America and the world. The article even includes emails that the author received from Americans wishing Putin could be the U.S. president. And to top it all off, it closes with an evangelical sermon lambasting the “lamestream” media and exalting Putin’s piety and the glory of Christ’s guidance to the “Truth.”[FYI: Pravda, in Russian, means truth].
“American conservatives hear only lies from their TV but what they see on the internet from Russia regarding Putin is true because Christ guides them to see the Truth. The Holy Spirit does not fail them and inspires them to see Russia. They know a tree by its fruit. Putin obviously respects the Christian Church but Obama and their American government does not.”
Apparently Glenn Beck has been moonlighting as a ghostwriter for Pravda. The lunacy of this article proves that the Russians are just as capable of composing dishonest blather as the world champions at Fox News and, especially, Fox Nation (see my ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality for a collection of documented falsehoods put out by Fox’s professional lie-mongers). But the ideological affinity expressed in the article reveals that, whatever distance separates Pravda from the American wingnut, the doctrine espoused is just their cup of tea.
In 2012 the Tea Party lost some of its key figures in congress. Allen West and Joe Walsh were rejected by voters. Michele Bachmann hung on by a thread, but is now so tainted by scandal that she announced her retirement shortly after the election. Folks like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump continue to be little more than comic relief.
Consequently, the second string of the Tea Party bench has had to step up their game. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is one of those vying for the role of Grand Teabagger. His latest attempt to distinguish himself from the pack is a monumentally perverse analysis of the crisis in Syria:
“Fundamentally, actually, these two issues, you look at Syria, you look at Obamacare. They’re tied together. They’re tied together by an arrogance of this administration, that they don’t believe they’re accountable to the American people, and they are going to jam their agenda down the throats of the American people.
And on both of them, the answer is the same as it was on guns; it’s the same as it is on stopping amnesty, which is the American people have to rise up and hold every elected official accountable, Democrat and Republican. Every one of us, including me.”
Syria and ObamaCare are tied together? I wonder why he didn’t also include Benghazi, the IRS, food stamps, and birth certificates. Bachmann would have. Cruz may not be up to this challenge.
The generous portion of ignorance that Cruz is serving up extends beyond the obvious delusional conflation of two completely unrelated issues. His assertion that ObamaCare was jammed down the throats of the American people is easily refuted by the fact that it was passed by a majority of the people’s representatives in both the House and the Senate, signed by the popularly elected President, and affirmed by a conservative-leaning Supreme Court.
Then Cruz escalates the craziness by attempting to shore up his argument with examples that rip his twisted logic to shreds. On the matter of guns, the American people support the President’s proposal on background checks by an unprecedented 90%. And what Cruz derisively refers to as amnesty, but which is actually a balanced approach to immigration reform, is also favored by a wide majority of Americans.
This is the pathetically low level of discourse that Republicans are engaging in with regard to the complex situation in Syria. They have instituted their typical strategy of being against anything and everything that might emerge from the White House. One faction of the GOP says that if Obama does not strike Syria, then he is weak. Simultaneously, another faction warns that such an attack would be an unconstitutional abuse of power. One side says he must strike because he drew a “red line” last year over chemical weapons. The other side says attacking for that reason would be an act of vanity. One side says he must wait for allies and the United Nations to sanction any attack. The other side says that doing so would be an abdication of our sovereignty.
There is one thing missing from every right-wing criticism: what they would do. I have yet to hear what Ted Cruz’s plan is; or John Boehner’s; or Don Rumsfeld’s; or Rush Limbaugh’s. These people have nothing but complaints and no ideas or solutions. It’s pretty much the same way they deal with health care, immigration reform, the economy, etc. They bitch relentlessly and offer nothing constructive.
For the critics in congress who think the President should not act without congressional approval, if they are so concerned why don’t they just come back to Washington and vote on it? They don’t need Obama to do that. The truth is, they are deathly afraid of actually having to go on the record because they don’t have any solutions and they don’t want to be held accountable regardless of the actions taken or the outcome.
While it may seem that there is no way that Obama can win under these circumstance, I have developed a three-point plan that I believe would satisfy all of his critics in the GOP, and on Fox News:
Fire bibles into Syria and turn Assad and the rest of the country into evangelical fans of the 700 Club.
Authorize a pipeline from Damascus to New Orleans so that Syrian oil could be refined in the U.S. and sold to China.
Approve an arms sales treaty with the new Syria in order to introduce more weapons into the region and create jobs in Kentucky.
In one respect Cruz might actually be onto something. Syria and ObamaCare are indeed connected in that both concern agendas that Republicans wholeheartedly supported until Obama became involved. ObamaCare, complete with an individual mandate, was originally the brainchild of the uber-rightist Heritage Foundation, now headed by former Sen. Jim DeMint. And the neo-con right has long advocated military engagement with Middle East adversaries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria. So if Cruz is looking for dots to connect, I think I found them.
In a fluff piece on the head of the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, the Wall Street Journal contends that the recent IRS pseudo-scandal has reinvigorated the Tea-publican movement. Never mind that their own poll shows that only 37% – of Republicans – support the Tea Party. The gist of the article’s analysis rests on the improved fundraising they have enjoyed since the GOP has fanned the phony scandal.
Indeed, the Tea Party Patriots raised more than $20 million last year, which makes their complaint about the IRS scrutiny ring rather hollow. Martin complains that not having tax-exempt status was “a disincentive to some potential donors.” Perhaps a bigger disincentive might be that they spend 85 cents of every dollar raised on additional fundraising. Or maybe donors weren’t impressed with the fact that their candidates (e.g. Akin, Mourdock, Angle, O’Donnell, Paladino, etc.), are mostly losers.
Martin told the WSJ that “the big donors…wouldn’t give to us without our nonprofit status.” She either doesn’t know, or is deliberately lying about, the fact that the IRS permits organizations with pending applications to solicit tax-exempt donations. She also made a remarkable admission that pretty much destroys her entire argument that her operation deserves tax-exempt status at all.
Martin: “It was harassment, pure and simple, to weaken us going into the 2012 election,”
Really? If your concern is that you will be hampered going into an election year, then your activities are unambiguously political and the IRS should immediately deny your application. Martin’s confession that election outcomes are what is driving the alleged harassment is the best argument that the IRS was right to apply stricter scrutiny to her group and others like it.
The WSJ noted the hard times that the Tea Party endured after their brief brush with fame:
By the 2012 election, the tea-party movement was in decline. Its members failed to show up to the polls in sufficient numbers, and many Senate challengers with tea-party backing were defeated. Rep. Michele Bachmann, chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, barely retained her seat.
When Mrs. Martin toured chapters in California earlier this year, they told her they wanted to drop “tea party” from their names because its brand was tarnished. Mrs. Martin was presiding over a national office full of empty desks and dwindling volunteers and donations—a period she refers to as “frightening” and “disheartening.”.
This is further evidence that their tax-exempt status had nothing to do with their misfortune, because there was no difference in their status in 2012 than in 2010. The dust up over the IRS was itself a purely political tactic, engineered by Rep. Darrell Issa and his GOP cronies in the House of Representatives. And, of course, hyped by their PR division, Fox News. The success of that tactic was heralded by Martin who told the WSJ that “From that moment, the tea party has roared back to life.”
Today the Tea Party is still an unpopular scam devised to advance the interests of the Republican Party and to enrich its principals. It enjoys an outsized measure of influence because GOP leaders in congress are too cowardly to challenge it. But anyone who thinks the Tea Party is a legitimate grassroots operation is being willfully ignorant of the facts – which kind of explains why they still support the Tea Party.
The Tea Party has been involved in too many idiotic escapades to count. One of their more memorable proposals was to fly a plane over the Superbowl with a banner reading “Impeach Obama.” Apparently they were not aware that the game would be played in a domed stadium and that it’s illegal to fly over it anyway. Or recall their assertion that ultra-conservative anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is a Muslim infiltrator. Their proof? He has a beard. And who could forget the call for Americans to rise up and burn their ObamaCare cards. No matter that ObamaCare cards do not exist, FreedomWorks will be printing them up and providing them to Tea Party pyromaniacs.
The very same FreedomWorks is now embarking on a massive campaign to punish Comcast because their MSNBC subsidiary employees Al Sharpton. They have produced a comically amateurish video (below) declaring it “a disgrace that Sharpton has his own TV show.” They sent an email to their 2.3 million suckers…er…members urging them to cancel their cable service if Comcast is their provider. The email states that…
“By paying your Comcast cable bill, your money is helping to pay for Al Sharpton’s salary…Comcast cable subscribers can take action against Roberts and his biased media empire by changing their cable TV service provider. By exercising marketplace choice, consumers can prevent their money from supporting media propaganda.”
If you get the idea that FreedomWorks didn’t think this through very well, you’re quite right. After all, Sharpton works for MSNBC, not Comcast. Any cable customers who cancel their subscriptions will have zero effect on Sharpton’s employment status. Those customers were encouraged by FreedomWorks to switch from Comcast to DirecTV, AT&T, or some other provider. However, all of those providers also offer MSNBC, so the revenue generated to the cable network will be exactly the same. Should they opt to do without cable programming, their boycott will do just as much harm to Fox News, and every other channel, as to MSNBC.
So this threat is as impotent as Rush Limbaugh sans Viagra. When liberals mounted a successful boycott against Fox News’ Glenn Beck, they targeted Beck’s advertisers. The same tactic has drained the bank account of Limbaugh and his radio affiliates. But going after Comcast won’t have any more impact on Sharpton’s MSNBC program than it will on Donald Trump’s unreality show on NBC.
There are plenty of good reasons to boycott Comcast: It is an anti-competitive conglomerate that exploits its market power; it unfairly discriminates against progressive advertisers; it improperly uses data it collects on its customers, invading their privacy. If Tea Partiers want to shun Comcast for any of those reasons, I’m with them. But this attack on Sharpton (of whom I am not a fan), is utterly absurd. However, it is another clear indicator of just how dumb the Tea Party community can be.