SAYS WHO? Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Reportedly Lied About Being in Prague -Dossier Confirmed?

Donald Trump’s repetitious and hollow declarations that there was “no collusion with Russia” and “no obstruction of justice” have never had any substance to back them up. They were always the ravings of a frightened man exposing to the world his consciousness of guilt. And along with the spin by his sycophants in politics and punditry who insist that there is “no evidence” of any wrongdoing, he continues to stubbornly deny the reality that most Americans plainly see.

Michael Cohen

One of the most frequent claims from the Trump camp is now crumbling to dust. For months they have been castigating the Christopher Steele dossier, a document provided by a respected former British spy, as “fake” news. They pretend that none of it has been verified, even though much, but not all, of it has been. And they assert that the whole investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller should be terminated and discarded because it sprung from the “phony” dossier. For the record, the dossier was a small part of the justification for FISA court authorization of surveillance of certain Trump associates.

One of the claims in the dossier that had been vehemently denied was that Trump’s personal lawyer, and mob fixer, Michael Cohen, had traveled to Prague to meet with Russian operatives. Cohen was adamant that he was never there and tweeted a picture of the front of his passport to prove it. Although how the cover of a passport proves anything has yet to be revealed.

However, a new report by the McClatchy Washington, D.C. bureau undermines Cohen’s denials and asserts that contrary evidence is already in the hands of Mueller’s team. The article quotes sources who confirm his visit to Prague and his meetings with suspicious foreign characters. They include Konstantin Kosachev, an ally of Vladimir Putin who has since been sanctioned for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Also present were hackers under the supervision of the Kremlin with access to the stolen emails of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. If this article is true, Cohen has a lot of explaining to do. And not the least of his problems will be that he also made his denials in testimony to Congress which, if false, is a federal crime. The McClatchy story notes that:

It would also be one of the most significant developments thus far in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House. Undercutting Trump’s repeated pronouncements that “there is no evidence of collusion,” it also could ratchet up the stakes if the president tries, as he has intimated he might for months, to order Mueller’s firing.

That looks pretty bad bad for Cohen, Trump, et al. And the article goes into significantly more detail about the meeting and the alleged conspirators. Cohen has responded to the story in a tweet that calls it “bad reporting” and claims that it was “proven” that he wasn’t in Prague. Of course, none of that is true and he offers no further proof. But if you were to press him him about the allegations that he actually was in Prague, he might just respond by asking his now famous question: “Says who?”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Breitbart Saga Whines On (And On)

Poor Breitbart
Cowardly Andrew BreitbartThe chronically choleric Andrew Breitbart now sees himself as the aggrieved party in the Shirley Sherrod affair that he instigated. This pathetic attempt to curry sympathy is uncharacteristic of Breitbart who ordinarily blusters his way through criticism and fiercely attacks his critics. Why the change in behavior? Could he be worried about Sherrod’s forthcoming lawsuit? This is what he told Newsweek:

Newsweek: Can you understand how this has been difficult for her to get caught up in that?
Breitbart: As difficult as it probably was for her, it’s been difficult for me as well, especially to hear her hurl an accusation of racism at me, when my motivation is absolutely pure and is driven by a desire for this country to move beyond its horrid racist past.

Was his motivation “absolutely pure” when he posted a deceptively edited video and portrayed Sherrod as a racist? Breitbart also admitted to Newsweek that the video took Sherrod out of context, and given two separate opportunities to apologize, Breitbart declined and made excuses instead. That didn’t stop him from expressing his desire to meet with Sherrod in private. If she takes him up on that she had better go wired for sound and video. I bet she could get some juicy clips.

The Wall Street Jackal
It’s interesting that Sherrod’s announcement the she intends to sue Breitbart has not been reported as a news item on Fox News, so far as I have been able to determine (if someone has evidence of such a report, please pass it along). But what Fox may be trying to sweep under the rug, the Wall Street Journal has taken on in the form of a defensive editorial by the editor of their online op-ed pages, James Taranto.

Taranto begins by surmising that Sherrod’s lawsuit would probably fail. His reasoning centered on his assertion that she was a public official and involved claims about the performance of her public duties. Sherrod was indeed an employee of the Department of Agriculture. That may make her a public official of sorts, but she was clearly not a public figure. By Taranto’s logic anyone working for the Post Office would be exempt from protection against defamation. Furthermore, Taranto was wrong in stating the the incident involved claims about the performance of her public duties. There was nothing of the sort in Sherrod’s speech before the NAACP. She was relating events that occurred 24 years earlier, before her employment with the USDA.

Finally, Taranto implied that it would be difficult for Sherrod to prove malicious intent on Breitbart’s part. It seems to me that Breitbart’s malice is fairly evident. By his own account, he had the video for months but never attempted to ascertain its validity or acquire an unedited version before posting it. Plus, he confessed to Newsweek that he knew it was out of context. Add to that his lack of remorse and his defiance in the face of evidence that his actions were defamatory, and you have a pretty good case for malice.

Taranto found it strange that Sherrod “issued this threat” of litigation before the National Association of Black Journalists. But Sherrod did not issue a threat. She answered a question. Taranto continued to be confused by the applause Sherrod received when she indicated her intention to sue Breitbart. This spurred Taranto to ask…

What kind of journalist would applaud the threat of a defamation lawsuit?

How about a journalist who takes pride in his work and is offended by pseudo-journalists who tarnish the profession? Taranto went on to make this absurd claim:

Journalists have an institutional interest in maximizing the scope of First Amendment protections, and that means keeping it as hard as possible for plaintiffs to sue for defamation.

I have no idea where he came up with that bit of lunacy. Reputable journalists who refrain from defaming people have no problem with defamation suits. It is part of the process of keeping them honest. Taranto’s argument would have gun owners opposed to laws against murder. But just as most gun owners support laws against murder, most journalists support laws against defamation.

Steele Interrupted
A scheduled fundraising event by Michael Steele’s Republican National Committee that was to feature Breibart has been “postponed.” The event was to be held at the swanky Beverly-Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills in just two weeks. This last-minute cancellation is curious considering the complex logistics in putting together a high-profile affair like this. It may or may not have had anything to do with Breitbart’s participation and the embarrassment that may entail, but when you also know that Steele backed out of an appearance before the same convention of black journalists that Sherrod attended, it does raise suspicions.

Uni-Tea: More Like Whi-Tea
Breitbart was a featured speaker at the Uni-Tea rally in Philly yesterday. The event was designed to promote the racial and ethnic diversity within of Tea Party. They did manage to assemble a pretty diverse roster of speakers, but reports from the field say that the crowd, which was far smaller than expected, contained few people of color. Thus, Breitbart spent twenty minutes assuring the predominately white Tea Baggers that they weren’t racists. I’m sure they feel better now.

Coming Attractions
Look for Breitbart’s highly anticipated appearance at the National Tea Party Unity Convention in Las Vegas in October. This event was originally scheduled for mid July, but was postponed due to lameness. Also appearing will be Sharron Angle, Lou Dobbs and Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily. This lineup up just screams unity.

Following that, Breitbart is amongst the seafarers embarking on a three-hour eight day post-election cruise sponsored by the National Review. If you ever dreamed of being shipmates with Breitbart, as well as Karl Rove, Phyllis Schlafly, Jonah Goldberg, Tony Blankley, Scott Rasmussen, Thurston Howell III, and more, then you probably awoke mopping up sweat. By the way, isn’t Rasmussen supposed to be a non-partisan pollster?

FYI: Here is a composite view of the National Review Cruise’s itinerary and the path of the Gulf oil spill:

Looks like they’re taking the scenic route.

Andrew Breitbart (Hearts) Al Qaeda

In a shocking new video the chronically choleric Andrew Breitbart is caught admitting that he “hearts” Al Qaeda and its network of terrorists.

This confession, startling for its candid veracity, is not particularly surprising coming from a this rhetorical bomb-thrower. His personality is rife with terrorist leanings and he is known to be as opposed to the present government of the United States as Osama Bin Laden or any other radical jihadist.

Now that the truth is out, Breitbart’s defenders must be put on notice. Chief amongst these is the Republican Party who is hosting a fundraiser in Beverly Hills next month. This event is asking deep-pocketed Republican elitists to donate between $5,000 and $60,000 to the party. The entertainment for the evening features RNC Chairman Michael Steele sharing the stage with Breitbart. There has been no comment from Steele as to whether Breitbart’s embrace of Al Qaeda or his deceitful smearing of Shirley Sherrod as a racist present any problems for this booking.

The disclosure of Breitbart’s allegiance to Al Qaeda is reminiscent of Glenn Beck’s admission that he idolizes Adolf Hitler:

Everyday we learn more of the truth about these dangerous and disreputable characters.

The G.O.P. Morphs Into The G.O.Tea

The National Tea Party Convention is over, but the battle for the soul of the so-called “movement” continues. Sarah Palin set the tone at her keynote speech to close the affair:

“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.”

Sarah Palin's Crib NotesThe “future of politics” is typical Palin hyperbole. Clearly she doesn’t understand what she’s saying. This is a woman who just got through mocking President Obama for using a TelePrompter, while she has crib notes written on her hand for a Q and A to follow her speech; A woman who told her adoring audience not to be afraid of being God-fearing; A woman who told Chris Wallace that Obama could ace his reelection if he were to “play the war card” by attacking Iran. This is the same woman who thinks it would be smart for the GOP to absorb the Tea Baggers.

On that measure she is not alone. Despite protestations from ostensibly neutral players, leading figures in both the Tea Party and the Republican Party believe that they are made for each other. This contradicts those who say that Tea Baggers are non-partisan and are angry with both parties equally. The truth is that the Baggers were always more closely aligned with Republicans and the evidence is their own words:

John Boehner, House Minority Leader: There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the tea party activists believe in.

Michael Steele, Republican Party Chairman: It’s important for our party to appreciate and understand that so we can move toward it, and embrace it.

Mark Skoda, Tea Party Leader: This movement is beginning to mature … not as a third party but a force to be reckoned with in the traditional party structure.

Carl Cameron, Fox News: They plan to establish separate spin off political action committees to fund raise for candidates who back Tea Party goals and the official Republican National Committee platform.

Newt Gingrich, Former GOP House Speaker: If the Republican Party offers a positive alternative in a way that Tea Party activists and independents join them, the tide could turn.

At this point it is inescapable that the Tea Party is a functional subsidiary of the GOP. Much of it’s original organizing muscle was provided by establishment Republican operatives like Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks and GOP PR firm Russo Marsh & Rogers. And now heavy-hitter Republicans like Palin are gripping the Baggers in a polar bear hug. All of this needs to be remembered when lazy or dishonest members of the press try to pretend that partisanship isn’t playing a part in this phony movement.

Michael (Injun) Steele Calls For Harry (Negro) Reid To Resign

The press is going bonkers over the latest pseudo-scandal it is attempting to whip up. The headlines are popping up everywhere and with ever greater sensationalism. The chairman of the Republican Party wants the leader of the Democrats in the Senate to resign for using inappropriate language.

  • Steele calls on Reid to resign, Washington Post
  • GOP Chairman Pressures Reid on Obama Remarks, New York Times
  • Republican Steele Says Reid Should Step Down From Leader Post, BusinessWeek
  • Senate leader must go following ‘Negro’ remark: Republicans, AFP
  • GOP chair: Reid should step down following race remark, CNN
  • Steele tells Reid to step down, Politico
  • Steele: Reid should resign Senate post, UPI
  • Republicans call on Senator Reid to quit post, Reuters
  • Steele: Reid Should Quit Leadership Post, Wall Street Journal
  • Michael Steele Shocks the World by Calling for Harry Reid to Step Down, New York Magazine

And on it goes. Personally, I wouldn’t mind in the least if Reid surrendered the Majority Leader post. I’ve been advocating a change in leadership for almost two years. This may not be the way I would have chosen for him to go, but I believe the Democratic Party would be better served by a more aggressive and tactically savvy leader. Reid is responsible for some of the most infuriating capitulations in recent memory. From FISA to Iraq/Afghanistan to health care, he seems determined to begin every negotiation from a disadvantaged position.

That said, it is utterly absurd for Michael Steele to be taking the lead in calling for Reid to step down due to Reid’s use of the word “negro.” While Reid’s comment was certainly inappropriate, the word in itself is not pejorative, it was said in private, and in context it was complimentary to Obama. However, just a few days ago Steele publicly used an unambiguously insulting term for Native Americans: “Injun.” Yet Steele defends his criticism of Reid and dismisses his own intolerance. When asked if he should resign himself, Steele told Chris Wallace

Steele: No, absolutely not. Why should I Chris? I’m pushing the ball. I’m raising the money. I’m winning elections. I have got the base fired up. […] I wasn’t intending to say a racial slur at all. The reality is that’s not the same as what we were talking about before.

Of course it’s not the same if it refers to himself. And since he didn’t intend to say a racial slur we should all just drop the subject – except Reid should still resign. This couldn’t be more hypocritical if Steele had insisted that “That cracker should resign for saying negro.”

Republicans might want to see if they can find another spokesperson on this issue. Steele doesn’t exactly hold the moral high ground. What’s more, his pompous self-glorification regarding his fundraising and electoral prowess is mightily overblown considering that Republicans have lost more races than not during his tenure (especially the NY-23 embarrassment), and he is bankrupting the party while stuffing his own pockets. The only people he is firing up are tea party activists who are after his hide, and deep-pocketed donors whom he has motivated to cease all contributions as long as he is chairman.

The substance of these events are decidedly negative for Steele and his party, yet somehow the media is still spinning it as a problem for Reid and the Democrats. Can someone please remind why we are supposed to believe that the media is liberal?

Thank God For RNC Chair Michael Steele – Seriously!

He does indeed work in mysterious ways. I’m talking about the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. Mystery surrounds him like the Shroud of Turin. That’s why we have to be grateful for the gift that Steele represents and not question it. No one could do what he is doing – for the Democratic Party. And he couldn’t have come at a better time. So say a prayer for Chairman Steele who recognizes the divine role he has been sent to play:

Steele: God, I really believe, has placed me here for a reason because who else and why else would you do this unless there’s something inside of you that says right now you need to be here to do this?

Such poignant questions. Who else and why else? There must be a reason that Steele is here sabotaging the interests of his party. That reason is becoming clearer with every passing day: God is a Democrat.

Why else would He send a GOP leader who praises ACORN?
Why send a leader who concedes the elections of 2010 ten months in advance?
Why send a chairman who tells the critics in his own party to “shut up?”
Well, to be fair, they want him to shut up too.
And what did Democrats do to deserve a Republican leader who is bankrupting his party and alienating donors?

God’s messenger, Michael Steele claims to be a real Tea Bagger. In fact he promised to bring “change in a tea bag.” That was last year when he also asked a college audience to wear his “hat of an idea,” and announced that “the era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over,” and bragged that he was “going beyond cutting edge.”

Steele’s recent public comments on his party’s prospects this year extend beyond his opinion that they don’t look too good. He actually passes a sort of judgment on them questioning whether they are even ready to assume power. He says it’s something that he is “assessing and evaluating now.” Where he got the impression that that is the role of a party chairman, I don’t know (from God?). Mere mortal party chiefs generally understand their duties as raising money and getting more members elected, not shaping policy and anointing candidates. But Steele rises above such restrictions, freely criticizing his flock and lecturing them on political matters.

If you think this is just too good to be true, reflect for a moment on what Steel told us last March that confirms the mystery in his ways:

Steele: If I do something, there’s a reason for it. Even, it may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there’s a logic behind it.

That settles it. Do not dare to question God’s servant. He is playing on level that far exceeds your ability to comprehend. He even has the gift of clairvoyance. Just yesterday, after taking heat from his party comrades for exploiting his position for personal gain and promoting his book instead of tending to party business, Steele shot back that he had written the book before he had become party chairman. But miraculously, he must have known in advance a multitude of events in 2009 that occurred after he had become chairman but were still included in the book he now says was written before. If that isn’t evidence of sainthood, what is?

So say a another prayer for Michael Steele. He is a treasure for which we must all be grateful. And be thankful that Democrats everywhere have him working on their behalf in the name of God. Amen.

Michael Steele Slits His Own Political Throat – Praises ACORN

The Party’s over. At least for the Chairman of the Republican Party.

If nothing else, Michael Steele has been a fountain of mirth for Democrats. He as given us a seemingly bottomless well of malaprops, policy flops, and Hip Hops. He has courageously embarked on what can only be described as a reckless course fraught with risk and a certain affection for being on the edge.

But today he has gone too far. He has extended beyond the edge and is floating in mid air like Wile E. Coyote of the old Road Runner cartoon, yet to realize that there is no terra firma beneath him. His fall is nonetheless imminent.

In the the audio below you can hear Steele stepping further out onto the limb than any Republican has ever dared to go. You will actually hear him praise ACORN and its current leader:

Now THAT’S entertainment! And he is proving himself to be quite a daredevil.

“I will say that the current head of the organization, she’s done a phenomenal job getting out in front of it. I applaud her. I take her at her word that she wants to work to make sure that the bad apples are thrown out. That the work that, I mean…Keep in mind that this organization has been around a long time.”

And he goes even further to praise, not just an individual, but after a brief disclaimer, he lauds the whole enterprise:

“Now I’m not a big fan of ACORN for a whole lot of reasons, because of my own feelings with some of their folks over the years. But I do respect the fact it has a history of working in the community and helping the poor.

And if that isn’t enough, he then proceeds to express his desire that ACORN successfully navigates their current difficulties and resumes their community organizing:

“It’s going to be one of those issues that, hopefully, they can get rectified. But until they do, they’re going to have to live with the stigma of the bad acts because of the federal funds that they’ve taken, because of the corruption that individuals have been convicted on so far. So we’ll see how this plays out.”

Setting aside his false assertion that any individuals have been convicted, he is quite correct that “we’ll see how this plays out.” But can this play out in any way that preserves his position as head of the Party? Can the RNC tolerate a leader that praises ACORN and hopes for its redemption?

Remember, this is the same Michael Steele who lectured on the ideology of hats:

“I’m asking you to go out and ask your friends to wear our hat. The hat of an idea.”

This is the same Michael Steele who can’t see any boundaries:

“I don’t do ‘cutting-edge.’ That’s what Democrats are doing. We’re going beyond cutting-edge.”

This is the same Michael Steele who promised to deliver “change in a tea bag.”

This is the same Michael Steele who declared that apologies were a thing of the past:

“The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over. It is done.”

Indeed it is. It is over done. It is toast of the most burnt variety. Can Steele possibly survive this affront to everything the Republican Party (via their mouthpiece, Fox News) holds dear? Will any apology suffice, even if he were willing to issue one?

Ordinarily, Steele only apologizes to other Republicans. For instance the time he said that Rush Limbaugh’s antics were “incendiary” and “ugly/” After that mishap he had to beg Rush for forgiveness. But he also said that it wasn’t gaffe, it was all part of his master plan:

“So if I do something, there’s a reason for it. Even, it may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there’s a logic behind it. […] I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest. I wanted to know who says they’re with me but really isn’t.”

I’m not so sure that other Republicans are going to see Steele’s affection for ACORN as much of plan. And I wouldn’t bet on his enduring occupancy of the RNC chairmanship. This is a huge disappointment for me. I was hoping for a Palin/Steele ticket in 2012. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for that now. It appears there’s just one thing left to say: Buh Bye, Mikey.

Lying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard

Anyone who has ever tried to make an audience laugh knows how deceptively easy a talented comic can make their job look. The truth is, it is so difficult to do well that there is a famous (but difficult to source) quote reportedly made from an actor’s deathbed: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

It’s going to get a lot harder for people like Jon Stewart. The competition is heating up with some of the most hilarious, and unexpected, entrants into the field of funny. Republicans from around the country are trying out their best material in an effort to amuse and deceive audiences nationwide.

First up is Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, who cracked up a room of College Republicans with his famous “Hat” routine. The premise is that it doesn’t matter how you wear your hat (to the side, backwards, etc) so long as it is a GOP hat:

I’m asking you to go out and ask your friends to wear our hat. The hat of an idea.

For this bit, Steele had four students stand so that he could pretend to put imaginary hats on them. Steele intuitively knew that the bit would be much funnier with audience members standing there for no purpose other than to grin and display their naked heads. And I have to admire the deeper meaning of the invisible hats of ideas that obviously represent the GOP’s absence ideas.

The setup included a dire admonition that Barack Obama “has asked your generation to wear his hat.” I must have missed that speech. But I did see Steele’s previous speech where he promised to deliver “change in a tea bag.” How does he keep coming up with this brilliant material?

And then there is Bill O’Reilly. In a sidesplitting debate over torture and abortion, O’Reilly challenged Juan Williams to explain why liberals object to torture but defend abortion providers like Dr. George Tiller. Williams attempted, through O’Reilly’s interruptions, to answer saying that torture is against both domestic and international law, but Tiller’s work was entirely legal. To which O’Reilly responded:

“You can dance the law dance all day long. And laws are passed by men. Laws can be revoked. They can be passed.”

The joke, as O’Reilly sees it, is the law itself. It’s just a dance and we don’t really need to comply with it because it’s just stuff that some people came up with in legislatures and courtrooms. Just imagine the comical scenarios that would ensue if we extend O’Reilly’s view of the law to burglary, rape, and terrorism. I can see O’Reilly now, defending Osama Bin Laden before a military tribunal, doing a jig while testifying that he can “dance the law dance all day long.” After all, the laws against flying planes into buildings could be revoked.

Almost as funny as his legal pirouettes is his contention that “the attorney general ruled waterboarding was not torture. It was legal.” As if the attorney general has the judicial standing to make such a ruling. He isn’t a judge. The best he can offer is an opinion, and you would think that O’Reilly has enough of those of his own. And to compound the laugh factor, O’Reilly seems perfectly satisfied to accept the constraints of the law (as he misinterprets it) with regard to waterboarding, even though he dismisses the law as it applies to abortion. Who’s dancing now?

This brings us to Newt Gingrich who made this declaration last night:

“Let me be clear. I am not a citizen of the world!”

I’m going to guess Plutonian, because he is just so out there, stretching the comedy envelope. He is objecting to a part of Obama’s speech wherein he referred to himself as “a citizen of the world.” I wonder if Gingrich knows that John F. Kennedy, George H. W. Bush, and even Ronald Reagan used the very same phrase. Gingrich also mined comedy gold by railing against the “fact” that our nation’s school curriculum doesn’t include American history. Makes you wonder how closely he was paying attention.

It’s going to be hard for working comics and satirists to compete with the new Republican Rubber Chicken Society. Not many people are better at spinning lies…er…stories than desperate Republican politicians and pundits. It may be too much to ask our professional laugh-smiths to create humor from scratch when the GOP can just pull it out of their butts. I mean, how can you compete with headlines like:
“Fox Newser Accused of Dragging Cyclist Through Central Park.” And:
“Peter Doocy [Steve’s boy] Joins Fox News.” And:
“Sarah Palin Mystifies and Annoys the Republican Establishment.”
“Coburn’s STD Lecture to Congressional Interns Put On Hold Due to Pizza Dispute.”

Yes, those are real. And so is the danger that reality will make comedians obsolete. Thanks GOP.

Rush Limbaugh To MSNBC: Leave Me Alone

The towering ego that is Rush Limbaugh is tottering on its foundation. On his radio rant yesterday, Limbaugh lashed out at what he perceives to be a vicious cabal, led by MSNBC, dedicated to being mean to him. In the typical manner of bullies everywhere, Rush wiped his nose, stammered a bit, then fired back a volley of indignant spittle:

“It is clear to me that MSNBC is hoping to build its ratings on my back. […] they cannot go any appreciable length of time without showing video of me […] or excerpts from this radio show or having a bunch of hack guests on to discuss me. So my challenge is this, to MSNBC […] Let’s see if you can do Rush withdrawal. Let’s see if you can run your little TV network for 30 days without doing a single story on me”

Poor Rush. Those meanies at MSNBC won’t stop saying stuff about him. He would like it much better, I’m sure, if he were allowed to spout off about whatever he wants, no matter how ignorant or infested with lies, without some TV news commentators pointing out what a fraud he is. He would be so very happy if, for just thirty days, he could be free from having his ill-informed tripe rebutted by facts and logic.

This is the same Limbaugh who can’t go a day without flailing at what he calls the “drive-by” media. He is one of the most vituperative critics of any and all press with whom he disagrees. He bashes MSNBC regularly, but now he is begging for a thoroughly one-sided truce.

What could have provoked this pique? Ordinarily Limbaugh would be thrilled that people were talking about him at all. He frequently asserts that his adversaries just make him stronger. Now, all of a sudden, he wants them to shut up? Perhaps he revealed the answer in this remark:

“As you know, Michael Steele made a speech today outlining the future of the Republican Party. And apparently he mentioned every conservative’s name in the book except mine and Cheney’s. This has caused many excited media people to point this out.”

There it is. Steele’s speech actually cited only three conservatives (all deceased), in a rambling dissertation on how his leadership will bring change “delivered in a tea bag.” But by leaving out Limbaugh (not deceased, but still extinct), Steele set off a media frenzy that didn’t include the de facto head of the Republican Party. That is an unforgivable oversight that must be immediately corrected by imploring the press to pay more attention to Boss Limbaugh.

So Rush issues a challenge that he knows won’t be considered in an attempt to turn the spotlight back on himself. In the process he advocates for constraining the free speech rights of his critics. And underlying all of that, he exposes himself as the thin-skinned, sorehead that we all knew him to be. If Limbaugh really wants MSNBC and others to leave him alone, there is one very simple way to accomplish that: Leave!

Late Breaking: On his radio program today Rush issued this announcement regarding his position as Republican Party chief:

“I have been anointed to this position by members of the drive-by media, and of course, the Obama White House. I am resigning as the titular head of the Republican Party.”

Uh oh. Does that mean that the party is stuck with Michael Steele? Rush nominated Colin Powell for the job, but let’s be realistic…it’s more likely to be Dick Cheney. Given the choice of Limbaugh, Steele, Powell, or Cheney, Democrats would probably choose all of the above.

Michael Steele: The Era Of Apologizing Is Over

In a dramatic announcement on the passing of an historical epoch, Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, has declared that the Era of Apology is over. That’s right, the Apologiac Age has come to a close, according to Steele:

“The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over. It is done. The time for trying to fix or focus on the past has ended. The era of Republican navel gazing is over. We have turned the corner on regret, recrimination, self-pity and self-doubt. Now is the hour to focus all of our energies on winning the future.”

While it is encouraging to hear that Republicans will cease to gaze at their navels, that doesn’t explain how their new tunnel blindness with regard to the past will help them to win the future. It also doesn’t advance the argument that the Apologiac Age is truly over.

One argument against Steele’s hypothesis is that experts have been unable to identify the beginning of the Era of Apology. Despite rigorous searches, no apologies have been uncovered for any of the most profound failures of the last administration:

  • Missing all of the warning signs prior to 9/11.
  • Waging a preemptive war of aggression based on weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist.
  • Permitting thousands to die in New Orleans due to incompetence and neglect.
  • Politicizing the Justice Department by hiring and firing attorneys based on partisan affiliation.
  • Diluting Constitutional rights through warrantless searches and the suspension of habeas corpus.
  • Violating domestic and international laws against torture.
  • Causing the collapse of the economy via deregulation, collusion with corporate cronies, and irresponsible spending and taxation policy.

The absence of any evidence that an Apologiac Age ever began inveighs heavily against the contention that it has now concluded. Conservative Apologiac theorists like Steele may seek to support their claim by pointing to the frequent apologies made by Republicans (including Steele) to Rush Limbaugh for having referred to him as an entertainer, or otherwise something less than the Republican Overlord. Or they may cite the apology made by Steele himself when, addressing the Wall Street bailout, he said we need to “own up, do the, ‘My bad,’ and move forward.” However, none of these apologies actually represent the Republican Party accepting responsibility for the tragedies it inflicted on this nation, and the world.

Moving forward was a primary theme in Steele’s Apologia speech. He seemed to be especially sensitive to the notion that Americans might linger too long on the failures of the GOP’s recent past. His message was simply to stop looking back. After all, he said, Ronald Reagan would never look back:

“Ronald Reagan always insisted that our party must move aggressively to seize the moment. He insisted that our party recognize the truth of the times and establish our first principles in both word and deed […] So in the best spirit of President Reagan, it’s time to saddle up and ride.”

Steele, it must be noted, had to look back over twenty years to come up with that advice from Reagan against looking back. For Steele, looking back twenty years is enlightening, but looking back at the the last eight years is just rehashing the irrelevant. And everyone knows that if you’re looking to the future, the most inspiring analogy is one that includes saddling up your horse.

Steele is intent on peddling his theory on the end of Apologia. He even borrows Barack Obama’s inspirational message of change. But Steele is quick to point out that his version of change “comes in a tea bag.” Historians, I am sure, will spend countless hours trying to figure out what that means. And this may be the underlying brilliance of Steele’s strategy. If no one knows what you’re talking about, they can’t make much of an attempt to dispute it.

Thus, the introduction of the end of the Era of Apology, an era that never began, should quite sufficiently confuse the people, the Party, and most importantly, the press. At least for another week or two.