In the USA...The Republican ‘defund Obamacare’ disorder shows their denial of political reality
By Michael Cohen, The Guardian
Sunday, August 25, 2013 13:56 EDT
The Republican party is not in a good place right now. They are historically unpopular (particularly House Republicans); they have no discernible governing agenda; they are under assault from their own supporters; they continue to say stupid things that upset key voting groups … and – guess what? – things are about to get even worse.
Case in point: the ongoing GOP obsession with Obamacare.
It’s now been three and half years since the legislation was signed into law; more than a year since it was upheld by the US supreme court, and nearly 10 months since Mitt Romney, running on a pledge to repeal it, was defeated in the 2012 presidential election. Yet, rather than accept the reality of Obamacare, the GOP’s effort to ensure that millions of Americans are prevented from receiving healthcare coverage and remain forever mired in financial and personal anxiety because of their lack of insurance continues unabated.
How to accomplish that, of course, is the hard part – particularly since Democrats control the Senate and the bill’s namesake is sitting in the Oval Office. Indeed, because of this political reality, Republicans have appeared lately to be putting aside their strategy of shutting down the federal government in October unless Obamacare is defunded.
But don’t pop those champagne corks too soon. Instead, they are now debating the idea of refusing to raise the debt limit in return for a White House agreement to “delay” implementing Obamacare. This is the political equivalent of “we’re not going to hold our breath until we turn blue and collapse now; instead, we’re going to wait a few additional weeks and then we’re going to hold our breath until we turn blue and collapse.”
Now, granted, if the GOP wants to knock themselves out (literally), who are we, as non-crazy and rational people, to stop them? Knock yourself out, GOP!
The problem, however, is that while shutting down the government would be bad for the country and disastrous for the GOP, it’s not the desired political Armageddon. Refusing to raise the debt limit – well, that’s something else altogether. So, instead of holding its breath, collapsing and perhaps suffering a nasty cut, the GOP would prefer to hold its breath, collapse and fall on a plunger – a la Alec Guinness in Bridge on the River Kwai – and blow up the whole goddamn bridge. (In this analogy, the bridge is a stand-in for the US economy.)
In fact, it’s hard to imagine a greater self-inflicted wound that Congress could impose on the nation than not raising debt limit. It would put at risk the full faith and credit of the United States and do grievous harm to the US economy.
The GOP’s new “defund Obamacare” strategy actually increases this terrifying possibility. By avoiding a government shutdown in October, Republicans will dodge the immediate political minefield of their own making. But at the same time, if Republicans agree to pass a budget and keep the government up-and-running (while getting nothing in return from the White House), it will further increase the pressure on the Republican leadership of Speaker John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell to get something, anything, out of the White House when the debt limit ceiling needs to be raised.
The problem, of course, is that the President Obama has made clear he has no intention of negotiating over the debt limit – a mistake he made in the summer of 2011 that he dares not repeat again. That immovable obstacle makes the GOP’s efforts to defund Obamacare a largely fruitless exercise.
Democrats aren’t going to deal and they know (or, at least, strongly assume) that Republicans will give in eventually – and they are probably right. The GOP has negotiated itself into a completely untenable position: namely, one in which the last hostage they can take (the debt limit) they have no real intention of killing and no real interest in doing so.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t shoot the hostage by accident or out of rank, careless stupidity. That’s what makes this game so dangerous. But for Republicans, the danger is even greater – because while debt default can perhaps be avoided long-term, catastrophic damage to the GOP likely cannot. If Republicans let the nation default on its debt, they will pay a very heavy political price for doing so. It is almost certain that the American public will hold the GOP responsible.
But if Republicans give in on the debt limit/defund Obamacare strategy, they will not only have failed to stop Obamacare this fall, but they will also have failed to stop Obamacare, period. The law’s healthcare exchanges go into effect 1 October, and the law becomes fully enacted on 1 January 2014. Once that occurs, the train will have left the station and there will be no turning back.
For those Americans who can’t get health insurance or have an ounce of social empathy for their fellow citizens, this is an altogether good thing. For Republicans, it will be yet another sign of their impotence and their failure as a political party. And it will be made worse if Boehner and McConnell are forced to rely on Democratic votes to pass a clean debt limit extension.
The incandescent rage from Tea Partiers at yet another bout of failed brinkmanship will not be directed at Obama; it will be directed at their own leaders.
It’s already happening. This week, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander joined Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell in finding himself under assault from a Tea Party primary challenge. Alexander is hardly a moderate (he even penned an op-ed this week defending his conservative bonafides), but in the increasingly radicalized GOP, he’s considered something of a Rino (Republican In Name Only). His crime: an apparent willingness to seek “compromise” with Democrats.
At the same time, conservative groups are now funding ad campaigns against Republicans in both the House and Senate for refusing to embrace the Tea Party’s suicidal defund Obamacare strategy. For Republicans who are in safe seats or in red states the biggest threat they face today is not from Democrats, but from their own supporters – and even more directly, from potential primary challenges. Considering how many “establishment Republicans” have lost Senate and House primaries to outside-the-mainstream Tea Party candidates in the past two election cycles, this is no idle threat.
So, while this intra-party challenge reduces the desire of Republicans compromise, it also makes them that much more vulnerable politically when they are forced to do so. It’s not difficult to imagine that when the smoke clears from this fall’s budget showdown and debt limit hostage-taking that Republicans will find themselves mired in full-scale civil war with Tea Party radicals who are even further emboldened to push their no-compromise agenda on the party.
Keep in mind, that’s the best possible outcome for Republicans. The worst one is that they blow up the US economy.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013
*************Ted Cruz Sabotages The Republican Campaign to Defund and Stop Obamacare
By: Jason Easley
Aug. 25th, 2013
By admitting on CNN’s State of the Union that he helps Texans sign up for Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz has sabotaged the GOP effort to defund the ACA with a government shutdown.
CANDY CROWLEY: Will you, or have you helped those people?
SEN. TED CRUZ: You know, we have not been getting significant calls in that regard. We have been getting significant calls from people saying please stop Obamacare. Please stop this train wreck.
CROWLEY: Would you help someone who called and said I wanted to sign up?
CRUZ: Look, we have a major constitutent services operation that helps anyone dealing with the government.
CROWLEY: That includes signing up for something that you don’t believe in?
CRUZ: Oh sure, sure. It’s the job of someone representing. You know, I’m honored to represent 26 million Texans, and dealing with the government is inherently frustrating, it’s inherently confusing and one of the things our office takes very seriously is trying to help Americans deal with the government.
If Obamacare is so evil, why is Sen. Cruz helping his constituents sign up for it? Cruz like all Republicans is refusing to tell people that they are now eligible to sign up for affordable health insurance, but if somebody calls his office and asks, he will be more than willing to help them out.
Cruz’s comments demonstrate that the Republican demagoguery on the law is just a load of hot air designed to turn out the Republican base. The reason why Cruz doesn’t get many calls in red state Texas from people wanting to sign up for the health insurance exchanges has nothing to do with the law itself, but is a demonstration of the effectiveness of the propaganda effort against the ACA in red states.
The number of calls he gets doesn’t matter. What matters is that Cruz is contradicting his position on the ACA.
This is the kind of thinking out loud that will get Cruz branded a heretic among the far right crowd that he is desperately courting for his potential 2016 presidential run. Cruz’s main issues have been getting rid of the IRS and Obamacare, and he just poked a big hole in his war against Obamacare image.
When pushed, Ted Cruz has to acknowledge by helping constituents who ask that the ACA is the law of the land. The Texas senator elevated himself to be being the most high profile congressional voice against Obamacare, so having him admit that his office will help constituents sign up for it is a death blow to the right wing movement to shutdown the government in order to defund the ACA.
Intentionally or not, Ted Cruz just stopped the effort to defund Obamacare by shutting down the government dead in its tracks.
************Media critic: Al Jazeera appealing because it’s not identified with corporate interests
By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, August 25, 2013 16:02 EDT
The Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera is an important contributor to the political landscape of the United States, according to the media critic for The Baltimore Sun.
“We have had a narrowing of the conversation about democracy, especially on television,” David Zurawik said Sunday on CNN. “Throughout the media, we’ve become sort of identified with corporate interests and with the powers that be. I think part of that is the economic crunch we have all gone through. Al Jazeera in general is oriented towards what is called global south, which is people south of the equator — people who have been the victims of colonization.”
“You know, in the Middle East, we say Al Jazeera is much more in touch with the street,” he continued. “Well, there’s a street in America, too, that a lot of television, a lot of network, a lot of cable is not in touch with. And in their first week, their first night, I saw them. They did a story on a woman who makes coats for homeless people. You know, in America, we drive right by the homeless. Driving in Washington today, how do the congressmen, how does the president drive down this street and not see what I see today? Al Jazeera sees it.”
The Al Jazeera America cable channel went live on Tuesday.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oF5rElIzhwY
August 25, 2013South Carolina City Takes Steps to Evict Homeless From Downtown
By ALAN BLINDER
COLUMBIA, S.C. — In South Carolina’s capital, officials declare that their tree-lined Main Street, clogged with shops, banks, restaurants and hotels, is evidence that a long-sought economic revival has arrived.
But mere blocks north, a dozen or so of the county’s approximately 1,500 homeless people sit on a short wall near an empty parking lot, waiting for private shelters to open. They sporadically shout curses at passers-by while they smoke cigarettes and endure the summer humidity.
With business owners sounding increasingly worried about the threat they believe the homeless pose to Columbia’s economic surge, the City Council approved a plan this month that will essentially evict them from downtown streets.
The unanimous vote epitomized how Columbia’s dueling realities — a rush of self-confidence among political and business leaders and continuing poverty for others — have become driving forces of public policy.
Among metropolitan areas in the South, the nation’s fastest-growing region, Columbia is late to a boom period.
New Orleans rebounded after Hurricane Katrina and became a hub for start-up companies. Raleigh, N.C., has logged significant job gains. Greenville, S.C., transformed its downtown, earning the admiration of Columbia. And in Nashville, an investment company recently introduced an exchange-traded fund exclusively featuring area businesses.
In Columbia, which has branded itself “the new Southern hot spot,” residents say the city’s time has come.
They point to plans for the 181-acre campus that once housed the state’s mental hospital and will, over the next two decades, become a mixed-use development with an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion. Speculation is rampant that a minor-league baseball team will relocate to Columbia. Less flashy projects also abound, including the conversion of a vacant office building into housing for University of South Carolina students, some of the more than 780,000 people who live in the metropolitan area.
But business owners are warning that rising homelessness in Richland County — up 43 percent in two years, according to the South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless, an increase many blame on an absence of affordable housing options and a sluggish national economy — is imperiling the area’s prospects.
“People are afraid to get out of their cars when they see a homeless person,” said Richard Balser, who owns a luggage store downtown. “They haven’t been a problem. They just scare people.”
Others offered more dire assessments. One executive cautioned the City Council in an e-mail that “our staff members and our guests no longer feel safe” and that it is “virtually impossible for us, or anybody, to create a sustainable business model.”
Comments like those have galvanized city officials, whose controversial plan was widely supported by business leaders.
“If we don’t take care of this big piece of our community and our society, it will erode the entire foundation of what we’re trying to build in this city,” said Councilman Cameron Runyan, who wrote the proposal and has suggested moving Columbia’s homeless shelter as far as 15 miles from downtown. “What I see is a giant risk to business.”
Mr. Runyan has also cited a report from the police that showed increases in crime last year among the homeless, including assault and trespassing.
City officials have clashed about what precisely the Council approved during a marathon meeting, but Mr. Runyan said the intent of his strategy was to increase enforcement of existing vagrancy laws and offer the homeless three options: accept help at a shelter, go to jail or leave Columbia.
Although those options were not detailed in Mr. Runyan’s emergency proposal, he said they were “implicit.” They are included in his permanent plan, which the Council will consider later.
Opponents of the emergency plan, which will keep the city’s 240-bed shelter open two months longer than the previous November-to-March schedule, have said it would do little more than degrade Columbia’s neediest.
“You’ve got to get to the root of the problem: why we’re homeless,” said Jaja Akair, a homeless man who spoke during a City Council session that stretched past 3 a.m. “You can’t just knock us to the side like we’re a piece of meat or a piece of paper.”
Turning to executives in the audience, Mr. Akair said: “Try giving us a shot. I guarantee you some of us would run your business better than you do.”
Other critics have warned that they are considering court challenges to the plan, which will take effect in September.
This summer, cities like Tampa, Fla., and Portland, Ore., have pursued aggressive policies against the homeless. But Maria Foscarinis, the executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, characterized Columbia’s plan in an e-mail as “an extreme, highly disturbing example.”
Although Ms. Foscarinis’s group found in 2011 that cities were increasingly enacting prohibitions against activities like panhandling and loitering, researchers have questioned the efficacy of such tactics.
“These kinds of proposals are happening more and more around the country,” said Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the University at Buffalo. “But to me, all of these ordinances and policies just redistribute homeless persons. They don’t solve the problem of homelessness. You can’t jail people out of homelessness.”
Columbia’s efforts to support the wishes of local businesses have not been limited to the homeless initiatives. City leaders are also asking the courts to stop plans for a federal halfway house that would be near the widely anticipated mixed-use development on Bull Street, a project led by the same man credited with revitalizing Greenville’s downtown.
“We’ve got to make sure that every single thing we do focuses on continuing to attract advancement,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “Nothing can be a distraction.”
But Lori Brown, who owns a fabric store on Main Street, wondered if the city had misplaced its efforts. “People complain more about parking,” Ms. Brown said.
August 25, 2013Challengers to South Carolina Senator Are Lining Up on the Right
By KIM SEVERSON
LAKE WYLIE, S.C. — Some of the early shots in the Republican primary battle against Senator Lindsey Graham have been fired from this tiny community on the northern border of the state where the Civil War began.
A small group called Carolina Conservatives United, one of dozens organized loosely under the flag of limited government, low taxes and strict adherence to the Constitution, sent out images last week of a milk carton bearing Mr. Graham’s face and asked Gov. Nikki R. Haley to issue the state’s version of an Amber Alert to find its missing senator.
“Lindsey Graham has not been seen in the state of South Carolina for most of the last two years,” said Bruce Carroll, the chairman of the group.
Conservatives in South Carolina are eager to oust Mr. Graham, who has enraged the far right for, among other things, reaching across the aisle on immigration and supporting President Obama’s nominations for the Supreme Court. Tea Party supporters called him a community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood when, instead of heading home for the Congressional break this month, he went to Egypt at the request of the president.
But to stand a chance against the politician who succeeded Strom Thurmond in 2003, conservatives will have to win a civil war of their own. At least 40 groups align themselves along Tea Party and Libertarian lines, and trying to unify them to topple the state’s senior senator will be no easy task.
So far, three people have stepped forward to challenge Mr. Graham in the June primary: State Senator Lee Bright; Richard Cash, a former Congressional candidate; and Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel and, at the moment, the challenger whose political star is rising the fastest.
Ms. Mace, the owner of a public relations firm in Charleston, prides herself on her social media skills. She has never run for office, but her story is familiar to many here. For a time, she became the face of gender integration when she graduated from the Citadel in 1999, an experience she followed with a 2001 book, “In the Company of Men: A Woman at the Citadel.”
Toughing it out at the formerly all-male military college makes her a perfect candidate for voters seeking a true conservative, she said.
“I feel like they are looking for someone who is very strong and who won’t waver,” she said in an interview last week. But Ms. Mace is also the biggest target so far, in part because of her connection to a political gossip Web site called FitsNews, which she helped create in her role as a Web designer and media manager.
Will Folks, once a press secretary for Representative Mark Sanford and a former political consultant for Governor Haley, runs the site, which consistently attacks the governor. In 2010, Mr. Folks claimed to have had an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Ms. Haley two weeks before the election in her highly competitive bid for governor.
The claims were never proved, and Ms. Haley, who is heading into a campaign for her second term next year, has long said it was just another example of underhanded South Carolina politics.
Suggestions of a connection to the Web site can quickly throw Ms. Mace off message.
“My opponents’ political operatives have started smearing me,” she said. “I’m talking about all of them. It says more about my opponents than it does about me.”
The smears, she said, began in Mr. Graham’s camp two months before she announced her candidacy. The others have joined in.
One is Mr. Bright, who endorsed Ron Paul in the state’s presidential primary and has used the Web site connection to attack Ms. Mace. He has also been at odds with Ms. Haley over ethics changes and strategies to keep Mr. Obama’s health care law from being implemented in the state. Mr. Bright tends to support extremely conservative legislation and introduced a bill in 2011 to have the state create its own currency if the Federal Reserve system collapsed.
Ms. Haley said she was not jumping into the battle over who should replace Mr. Graham. Speaking this month at the annual Red State gathering, organized by Erick Erickson, the founder of the conservative blog RedState.com, the governor said: “I controlled Tim Scott. We’ll see what you do with the other one.”
She was referring to former Representative Tim Scott, a Tea Party favorite she appointed this year to the Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint, who left to head the Heritage Foundation.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, which Mr. DeMint founded in 2008, took on Mr. Graham last week for suggesting that a government shutdown as a way to fight the Obama administration’s Affordable Health Care act would be “a bridge too far.”
Mr. Cash, a businessman and a social conservative from Piedmont in the vote-rich upstate region, is considered a sleeper in the race, said David Woodard, a longtime South Carolina political consultant who ran Mr. Graham’s Congressional campaign in 1994 and wrote the 2006 book “The New Southern Politics.”
“You got to look at their money, and the guy with the most money is Richard Cash,” Mr. Woodard said.
According to recent campaign finance records, Mr. Cash had about $250,000, including at least $200,000 of his own money. Ms. Mace said she raised more than $100,000 in her first two weeks. Mr. Bright has not filed any campaign finance papers.
Mr. Graham has $6.3 million. Although he declined to comment on his opponents, his campaign staff pointed out that tough opposition in a primary is nothing out of the ordinary in South Carolina.
“Lindsey Graham is a strong fiscal, social and national security conservative with the record to back it up,” said Tate Zeigler, a campaign spokesman.
But Mr. Cash is staking out a position as the most anti-abortion, Christian constitutionalist in the race.
He is certainly the most seasoned campaigner among the challengers, even though his first race was not until 2010, when he was one of six Republicans trying to capture an open Congressional seat. Although he was not well known, he ran a disciplined campaign that moved him into a runoff against Representative Jeff Duncan, Mr. Woodard said.
In meetings with Tea Party groups, Mr. Cash repeats a carefully honed slogan about his candidacy, which he says is built on three C’s: capitalism, Christianity and the Constitution.
The state’s traditional Republican leaders and political consultants say that it will take a deeply unified effort to mount a successful campaign against Mr. Graham, but that in South Carolina, an unpredictable state with one of the country’s largest number of prominent Tea Party politicians, it is not unthinkable.
The key is for one candidate to find a way to harness that power.
“Anybody who wants to look at all those groups with a broad stroke should think again,” said Matt Moore, the chairman of the state’s Republican Party.
This summer, dozens of conservative groups talked about finding the state’s Ted Cruz — a reference to the Texas senator whose long-shot, grass-roots victory in 2012 is considered a model among Tea Party supporters.
It remains to be seen whom that should be, said Paul Anderko, the president of the GPS Conservatives for Action PAC.
“We know it’s not going to be an easy fight, and people are just listening and waiting to find the right candidate,” Mr. Anderko said. “But South Carolina is a funny state. Sometimes incumbents do go down in flames.”
*************Republican Insiders Admit that the Party Has Become a Danger to Itself
Aug. 26th, 2013
In sane parts of the world people are commenting on the state of politics in the United States and like many Americans, even long-time conservative scholars, they describe Republicans as an “off the rails train wreck” or the vernacular equivalent, “batshit crazy.” Insanity, craziness, or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by abnormal mental or behavioral patterns that may manifest as a person becoming a danger to themselves or others and it aptly defines the current crop of Republicans. Americans affected by Republican hijinks they call economic policies can attest to the danger Republicans are to the American people, and Republican insiders quietly admit that they are rapidly becoming a danger to themselves. However, unlike mentally dysfunctional people who are hardly to blame for defects that prevent their brain from processing normally, Republican insanity is self-inflicted and borne of their racial animus and irrational obsession over the people’s choice of an African American man as President.
It is difficult to choose any particular Republican behavior that qualifies them as insane to the point of becoming a danger to the people or themselves, and it is not because there is a dearth of items. Over the course of four-and-a-half years, they have inflicted damage on the economy and the people, and it is all predicated on their opposition to any agenda or policy proposed or supported by President Obama; even if the ideas originated with Republicans. Recently there has been an uptick in their threats to impeach the President, and one of conservative’s favorite assertions is that President Obama has violated the Constitution and there are myriad lists floating around that demonstrate ignorance and insanity plaguing conservatives.
Some of the highlights conservatives cite as Constitutional violations are the President’s refusal to acknowledge state’s rights to nullify federal laws, Congress passing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, congressional reauthorization of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), congressional oversight of the NSA, the Senate immigration bill, and of course the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and ruled Constitutional by the conservative Supreme Court. It is the crazed Republican obsession with repealing, defunding, and eliminating the Affordable Care Act that poses the greatest danger to the American people, the government, and Republicans themselves and most defines their insanity.
The de facto leader of the attempt to undo the ACA is teabagger Jim DeMint, former senator and current president of the Heritage Foundation that is ironic in that it was Heritage that proposed major parts of the healthcare reform law they are obsessed with eliminating at any cost to the nation. Heritage Action, a group that takes conservative policy visions outlined by the Heritage Foundation claims it provides a “unique combination of top-notch conservative policy analysis, a widely respected government relations team, and dedicated grassroots activists that advance conservative policies” that includes abolishing a healthcare law they once advocated. The group’s senatorial front men Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are leading an effort to shut down the government unless President Obama allows Republicans to defund the ACA. However, their efforts pose as much danger to the party as the government because some Republicans are not inclined to take part in shutting down the government or creating a credit default the crazies propose to force the President’s hand.
The obsession to defund the ACA or shut down the government has crazed conservatives framing the debate in apocalyptic terms to pressure other Republican lawmakers to back the effort or face teabagger wrath. The executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund said, “This about stopping the worst law that has ever been passed, something we believe will destroy the country, and not all Republicans are willing to stop it. We need to draw a line in the sand. Anyone who votes to fund ObamaCare should be replaced.” Heritage Action Communications director Dan Holler said, “Pretty much since 2011 and the debt ceiling fight there’s been an unwillingness to be aggressive and push conservative policy. On ObamaCare, arguably the biggest issue facing our country, they’re not willing to take the same principled stance.” Holler may not realize it, but he exposed why Republicans cannot govern, grow the economy, create jobs, or help lift an increasing number of Americans out of poverty. They are still fighting the healthcare reform battle they lost in 2010 and they are willing to create more harm for the people and themselves over a law that reduces the deficit, creates jobs, and insures 30-million Americans. It is nothing short of insane and some Republicans see the folly that may fracture the party in time for the 2014 midterm elections.
Speaker John Boehner indicated he wants a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, but even his proposal borders on lunacy because he proposes that Republicans boast to their constituents about their damaging cuts caused by the sequester. Doubtless, millions of Americans find little joy in what insane Republicans think of as success, but then again delusion is a symptom of insanity. Obviously Boehner is grasping for straws to brag about the sequester, but he is also aware that according to his pollster, more than half of Republicans oppose shutting down the government to defund ObamaCare. In fact, Heritage Action’s own push poll revealed that 52% of Americans favored leaving the health law in place that Heritage ignored and went on the attack to primary challenge Republicans unwilling to join their shut down effort.
Republicans targeted by Heritage are not amused by the effort to damage Republican electoral chances in 2014 for not jumping on the government shutdown and credit default bandwagon. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) asked why Heritage Action is spending $550K to attack Republicans like herself, and former communications director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said, “When you’re a so-called conservative organization that’s spending more money attacking Republicans than the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has, it’s time to look in the mirror. That’s not a constructive strategy, that’s a strategy of fratricide.” He is right, but that is the price Republicans pay for embracing crazy in 2010 to win congressional seats and they have no-one to blame but themselves; especially when their demented opposition to the health law inspired teabagger outrage they dreamt would usher in a new era of Republican dominance and a 2012 White House victory.
For some Democrats it may be entertaining to watch the political infighting among Republicans, but it does nothing but further the damage they are laying on the people that may be part of the bigger Republican plan. It is important to remember that the sequester is raping the economic life out of the American people and it appears Boehner is willing to use the insanity of the defund or shut down sect to keep the drastic cuts in place for nine-and-a-half more years. There is still the very real threat that the “crazier” Republicans will garner support to shut down the government or worse, refuse to raise the debt limit and create a credit default.
President Obama already told Republicans he is not going into hostage negotiations over the debt ceiling, but Republicans promised to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to achieve their goals. With the debt falling faster than any time in 60 years, and eliminating the Affordable Care Act as their only goal and ransom demand, it is no stretch that Republicans fearing for their electoral lives will avoid becoming a danger to themselves and shut down the government and create a credit default; all because of their crazed opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
*************Colin Powell Blasts Republicans and Warns That Their Voter ID Scheme Will Backfire
By: Jason Easley
Aug. 25th, 2013
Gen. Colin Powell didn’t pull any punches on Face The Nation today, when he bluntly warned Republicans that their plan to suppress the vote through voter ID laws is going to backfire.
Bob Schieffer asked Powell about the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and the general dropped a fact bomb. Powell said:
The concern I have now is that many states are putting in place procedures and new legislation that in some ways makes it a little harder to vote. You need a photon ID, but you didn’t need a photo ID for decades before so is it really necessary now?
They claim that there’s wide spread abuse and voter fraud, but nothing documents, nothing substantiates that. There isn’t widespread abuse, and so these kinds of procedures that are being put in place to slow the process down, make it likely that fewer Hispanics and African Americans might vote. I think they’re going to backfire, because these people are going to come out do what they have to do in order to vote and I encourage that.
Gen. Powell reminded his fellow Republicans for the millionth time that the country is getting more diverse, and that the minority will be the majority within the next generation. He said that Republicans don’t just need a new message. They need new substance.
Most Republicans view Powell as a traitor to the party because he endorsed President Obama in 2008, but the GOP would be in a lot better shape if they would listen to him.
Powell was exactly right. The Republican efforts to suppress the vote will backfire. People aren’t stupid. They know that the Republican Party is trying to disenfranchise them.
The right’s best chance at making their massive plan to suppress the vote work was their attempt to surprise implement it before the 2012 election. Now that people have had time to plan, this effort will most definitely backfire.
Instead of discouraging voters, Republicans are encouraging them to get out there and do what they have to do in order to protect their vote. There are organizations all across this country that are committed to helping voters get the identification that they need. Attorney General Holder is still fighting to protect voting rights, and recently challenged Texas’s plan to suppress the vote. Democrats have made the right to vote a central issue, and fighting for all Americans nationwide.
Maybe after Republicans get routed again by the Democratic nominee in 2016, they will begin to understand that they can’t suppress their way to the White House.
I’m with Powell on this one. I think the GOP’s suppress the vote scheme is destined to backfire and fail in spectacular fashion.
****************Prominent Female GOP Donor Says Republicans Assumed She Was the Secretary
By: Sarah Jones
Aug. 25th, 2013
A prominent female donor to the Republican National Committee in 2012 is breaking off to head a Super PAC called “Women Lead”, so that her agenda to get more women elected won’t get co-opted by the boys party.
Christine Toretti took over her grandfather’s drilling company, S.W. Jack Drilling Co., after her father died, and served as the finance co-chair of the Republican National Committee in 2012. In 2010, Politics Magazine named her one of the most influential Republicans in Pennsylvania. Yet, she tells Politico that at GOP dinners, she would often be the only woman and it was assumed that she was the then-RNC finance chair’s secretary.
Hello, 1950, where’ve you been?
Toretti recalled that as she traveled the country raising money with then-RNC finance chair Ron Weiser, “At a lot of dinners I would go to, I was the only woman in the room and they would assume I was Ron’s secretary.”
“I decided that if I was going to do this again, I was going to do it differently,” she continued. “Really, for me, it’s about getting more women at the table.”
They thought she was his secretary. Really.
THIS woman — “If she’s not the most powerful, non-elected woman in the GOP, I’d like to be introduced to one that is because I haven’t met them,” former Gov. Tom Ridge told PennLive.
I doubt anyone can explain to someone whose financial interests lay in the Republican Party’s deregulation fever that appealing to women who do not, say, own a drilling company, is going to be a bit tougher. And the number of women who do own a drilling company is not enough to win elections, by a long shot. There’s only so far you can go on the morality of hate and racism, especially when your party is taking aim at women’s freedom.
In some ways, Toretti seems like a woman who might get it. After all, she’s divorced and she has kids.
However, the very wealthy operate in a different legal arena than the rest of America. This is yet another example of how electing more ovaries does not necessarily mean that better policies for women will be enacted. Being female does not necessarily mean that you support equality, freedom and liberty for women (see Sarah Palin).
The Republican Party endorses laws that make it harder for single mothers and children. These are the issues Republicans should be addressing as they try to win back women. Toretti knows that female donors are hanging on to their money because they feel disenfranchised, telling Politico, “There are a lot of women we would meet with who have the capacity to write really large checks who feel disenfranchised by the party.” However, she seems to believe this sense of disenfranchisement centers around the abortion issue, which she is wisely leaving alone in her PAC.
It does not center around abortion. Women are fleeing the Republican Party because the party is obsessed with regulating their bodies, and stealing liberty and legal protections away from women every chance they get. Republicans are against equal pay, which might not matter when you are running your grandfather’s drilling company, but it matters very much when you work for someone else for a living.
Republicans are against healthcare for children, food programs for children of single parents, and much more. Republicans spend a lot of time denying the existence of rape or sexual harassment and trying to use the law to make it harder for a woman victimized by either.
And at the heart of the “abortion” debate is not a debate about abortion, but rather about if women can be trusted to make good decisions about their own bodies or if we should let politicians tell women and their doctors what they have to do. It’s a matter of freedom and liberty.
It’s not a surprise that Toretti doesn’t care that Republican men assumed she was the secretary. She is not relying on them to pass laws that will impact her. She is not relying upon them for a raise, or for the freedom to make her own medical decisions. She knows her family will always be safe from the tyranny of Republican big government overreach. Money assures that.
It is a surprise that Toretti doesn’t get how offensive that is to a woman who has no choice but to rely upon these Republicans to make decisions about her salary, her medical care, who she can have sex with and whether or not she will be tossed in jail for having a miscarriage.
*************Hillary Clinton Crushes All Republicans As Ohio Swings Towards Solid Blue
By: Keith Brekhus
Aug. 25th, 2013
A poll released August 23rd by Public Policy Polling reveals just how formidable a presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is and just how bad the GOP brand has become in the Buckeye State. Ohio, the quintessential swing state that went for George W Bush twice and then delivered narrow margins of victory for Barack Obama twice, is poised to become solid blue in 2016. If an election were held today in Ohio, Hillary Clinton would trounce Rand Paul 51-36 and crush Paul Ryan 52-36. Even Chris Christie would have trouble keeping from losing by double digits managing to lose to Clinton by a still decisive 45-36 margin. In fact, not a single GOP presidential hopeful polls better than 36 percent versus Clinton in Ohio, the ultimate must win state in presidential contests. Most amusingly, the Buckeye State’s Governor, John Kasich fares worst of all, losing by an epic 18 point margin to Clinton 53-35.
Apparently there is nothing like having a Republican Governor and legislature to help voters see the folly of voting GOP. Ohio voters oppose the recently signed restrictions on abortion rights 40-34. Furthermore, the state’s voters also now favor gay marriage 48-42, a 29 point reversal from just two years ago when voters opposed same sex marriage by a 55-32 spread. The state that John Boehner calls home and that once gave George W. Bush the necessary electoral votes to eke out an electoral college victory over John Kerry is in danger of being hopelessly lost for the GOP.
The Republican Party apparently learned nothing from the national drubbing Mitt Romney took in the 2012 election. Even in that contest Ohio was regarded as a toss up and Barack Obama’s margin of victory was less than three points, 50.58-47.6. To put the poll results in perspective, if Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul became their party’s respective nominees in 2016, and Clinton held her 15 point advantage, Ohio would deliver a bigger margin for the Democrats in 2016 than Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alaska or Montana did for the Republicans in 2012. The Republican Party has veered so far to the dysfunctional hard right that they run the risk of getting annihilated in the pivotal state of Ohio.
If the Republican Party cannot regain a sense of pragmatism and reason they are headed for humiliation in Ohio. The drubbing will be so thorough that even Karl Rove will not question Megyn Kelly’s judgement when FOX News calls Ohio for Hillary Clinton less than thirty minutes after the polls close. If the GOP does not reinvent itself and renounce some of their extreme positions on social and economic issues, they are headed for political disaster in the Buckeye State. Luckily for the Democrats, at this stage, the Republicans neither seem to notice nor care. If that apathy continues, Ohio will be colored a very deep shade of blue in 2016.