So... About Those Unemployment Figures

Via MiseryIndex

Here's some more perspective since so many like to tie Obama to unemployment numbers, the right's most popular lagging economic indicator:

Reagan and Obama inherited roughly the same 7.6% unemployment figures and climbing, (although what we got from Bush was hemorrhaging at a much faster rate 0.5 million jobs per month on Day 1 and the three months following).

Obama policies stemmed losses which peaked at 10.1% within 10 months and had them back down to 9.6% within 21 months (where we are now).

Reagan policies ballooned his up to peak at 10.8% after 24 months (his mid-terms), and he didn't have them back to the same 9.6% (where Obama does now) until a full 30 months into his 1st term.
We'll see how Obama does with unprecedented obstruction and renewed commitments for "zero compromise" from our friends across the aisle to help get America's jobs back.

However, Reagan didn't have his unemployment numbers back down to 7.6% (what he inherited) until 40 months into his 1st term.
And yet they want to blame Obama for the way things are at this point... after a record like that from the Consrev-a-Jesus himself?

Let's give Democrats as much time as Reagan had.
Vote the Democratic ticket on November 2nd!!

#Twittergate - Hilarious! But As Implicated... Not Me

Via @Shoq

Apparently, some conservatives are having a tiff with a twitter user named @wingnutwatch. They made some convoluted youtube movie about it called "Twittergate". For reasons I cannot really figure out, two of my tweets are in this video. As best I can tell,my tweets merely mention words and concepts I'm known for, and try to explicitly or implicitly connect them to whatever bizarre effort — real or imagined — the video addresses.

Read more: http://shoqvalue.com/#ixzz11voqqSG3

DITTO! Also too...


Via pumpybeanis

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you... @GregWHoward

Behold the awesome power of stupid, in all it's teabagging wingnut glory.

GOP ‘Young Guns’ House Nominee Loves Playing Nazi Dress-Up

Via Ken Layne

Heil Ohio!

What this year’s crop of insane GOP/Teabagger candidates had lacked, so far, was really only a Tea Party-backed Republican nominee hand-selected as one of Eric Cantor’s “Young Guns” who also spent all his spare time dressed up like an actual Nazi Waffen SS soldier playing German Invasion in the woods around Toledo. And now, the story of the GOP Resurgence is complete, because the dress-up Nazi has been located. Meet Rich Iott, your new teabagger congressman from Ohio!

Joshua Green of The Atlantic brings us this charming tale of a man who simply loves history, that’s all:

Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking …. Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. “No, absolutely not,” he said. “In fact, there’s a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you’ll find that on almost any reenactment website. It’s purely historical interest in World War II.”

Whatever, Hitler.

It only took a day for this very promising Nazi candidate to be removed from Eric Cantor’s heroic “Young Guns” group of 40-and 50-something GOP creeps chosen to be the Republican Party’s sexy new face:

Until last night, the GOP included the candidate, Rich Iott, on a list of promising potential members called Contenders — a notch below their so-called Young Guns. Now he’s gone, without a trace.

You can get away with a lot in conservative politics these days, but it turns out spending your weekends dressed as a Nazi, celebrating the brave Waffen 5th SS Panzer Division is still a bridge too far.

Haha, Talking Points Memo, always with the jokes. [The Atlantic/TPM]

Donald Duck Discovers Glenn Beck in “Right Wing Radio Duck”

Via rebelliouspixels.com


Donald’s life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck.

Answers For Glenn Greenwald; Yes, We Are At War

Answers For Glenn Greenwald; Yes, We Are At War - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians

Via Zach Carter

A full 90 members of Congress who voted to bailout Wall Street in 2008 failed to support financial reform reining in the banks that drove our economy off a cliff. But when you examine campaign contribution data, it’s really no surprise that these particular lawmakers voted to mortgage our economic future to Big Finance: This election cycle, they’ve raked in over $48.8 million from the financial establishment. Over the course of their Congressional careers, the figure swells to a massive $176.9 million.

The complete list of these Crony Capitalists is below, along with the money they pulled in from Big Finance, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org). The career data goes back to 1989. Of the 69 House members who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and financial reform, 60 are Republicans, while nine are Democrats. All 21 Senators who voted with Wall Street on both issues are Republicans, and Republicans raked in over 90 percent of the total campaign contributions. Here’s a chart showing Wall Street’s total contributions to this crowd for the 2010 cycle, by political party:

And here’s one showing total Wall Street contributions over the course of their careers:

These aren’t the only politicians carrying water for Wall Street—only the most flagrant. Some of the bank lobby’s savviest servants on Capitol Hill do their dirty work early in the legislative process. They push through technical amendments and deploy complex procedural tricks to defang a bill, but when the final vote comes, they can still create the appearance of taking a stand against Wall Street’s interests. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., is a master of this technique, and Tea Party favorite Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., was able to claim credit for voting in favor of reform after demanding—and receiving—a host of big bank giveaways in return for his vote.

Nor are Republicans the only recipients of Wall Street largesse. Bean, for instance, has pulled in over $773,000 from Wall Street in the 2010 cycle alone, while working overtime to carve loopholes into new consumer protections (she’s scored $2.4 million over the course of her Congressional career). And the Democratic leadership has received millions as well.

When it comes to dealing out economic damage, no special interest group has been able to wreak more havoc that Big Finance. After inflating an $8 trillion housing bubble and sparking a recession that has cost the economy over 8 million jobs, public pressure to crack down on Wall Street was intense. And the public is still clamoring for Wall Street accountability—after two years in office, the Wall Street reform bill remains the most popular legislative effort championed by President Barack Obama, and getting tough on Big Finance has been a reliable re-election strategy for embattled incumbents.

But harnessing the Wall Street beast proved a tortuously long and difficult process, taking nearly two years despite its economic urgency. And while the bill that Congress approved this year has plenty of virtues, many of the most critical reforms were simply not addressed by the legislation. The too-big-to-fail financial behemoths that taxpayers bailed out in 2008 are even bigger today, banks can still gamble with taxpayer money, and the foreclosure crisis continues to ravage neighborhoods across the country. Until these issues are addressed, the U.S. economy will remain beholden to Wall Street’s bonus-crazed whims.

But if you follow the money, it’s obvious why so much work remains to be done on financial reform. This year alone, Wall Street spent a staggering $251 million fighting financial reform. According to a separate analysis of campaign contributions performed by Public Citizen, lawmakers who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and reform received nearly triple the campaign cash of those who opposed Wall Street (figures in the Public Citizen study don’t correspond to those I’ve compiled, as Public Citizen examined contributions from 2007 through July of 2010).

Despite the popularity of Wall Street reform, 90 members of Congress didn’t even want to publicly pretend to support reining in almost universally reviled banks. When you’re trying to decide which bums to throw out in November, here’s one place to start. These members of Congress are okay with setting up economic calamities, and they don’t mind paying for them with your tax dollars.

Here’s how Wall Street’s contributions break down among Wall Street’s 21 Senate Cronies. For 2010:

For their careers:

And here are all of the Cronies, along with their Wall Street hauls:

Senator2010 Wall Street CashCareer Wall Street Cash
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)$1,600,000 $4,900,000
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)$1,500,000 $2,600,000
Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO)$333,600 $3,300,000
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)$1,500,000 $3,300,000
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)$2,500,000 $3,500,000
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)$451,700 $1,200,000
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)$3,100,000 $3,300,000
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)$3,200,000 $4,700,000
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)$1,300,000 $2,600,000
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)$1,100,000 $2,000,000
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)$233,200 $1,100,000
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)$1,400,000 $2,600,000
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)$1,400,000 $4,700,000
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)$1,500,000 $4,200,000
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ)$2,800,000 $3,800,000
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN)$412,200 $2,500,000
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)$947,600 $34,000,000
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)$4,300,000 $5,300,000
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)$268,200 $909,700
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)$1,600,000 $3,900,000
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH)$435,200 $2,800,000
21 Republicans

0 Democrats

Senate Total$31,881,700 97,209,700
House Member2010 Wall Street CashCareer Wall Street Cash
Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La.$106,500 $422,300
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.$611,600 $4,400,000
Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C.$20,400 $806,700
Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark.$24,900 $663,700
Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill.$395,000 $1,900,000
Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.$1,200,000 $3,800,000
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio$1,300,000 $3,700,000
Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala.$90,400 $702,200
Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.$190,000 $733,400
Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark.$257,700 $491,000
Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.$123,100 $722,200
Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va.$92,700 $1,400,000
Rep. Charles Boustany Jr, R-La.$226,300 $934,600
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas$157,000 $840,500
Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C.$35,700 $494,000
Rep. Vernon Buchanan, R-Fla.$336,800 $1,400,000
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.$180,300 $940,300
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.$588,000 $1,700,000
Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif.$413,400 $1,200,000
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.$2,100,000 $4,400,000
Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del.$749,100 $3,200,000
Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C.$23,400 $502,500
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.$110,000 $686,000
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas$161,500 $711,800
Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.$86,100 $717,000
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas$90,600 $606,900
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.$177,900 $881,000
Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas$324,200 $1,900,000
Rep.Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich.$8,500 $292,200
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo.$143,900 $904,400
Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Okla($1,000)$340,700
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.$86,200 $840,300
Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa.$251,600 $1,800,000
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas$140,000 $1,100,000
Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif.$171,500 $1,100,000
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich.($1,000)$300,600
Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C.0$572,800
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.$173,900 $1,600,000
Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.$1,900,000 $4,200,000
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn$170,900 $989,100
Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.$31,800 $748,000
Rep. Daniel E. Lungren, R-Calif.$147,700 $622,500
Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif.$132,100 $1,100,000
Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif.$144,500 $902,000
Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz.$130,900 $558,000
Rep. Sue Myrick, R-S.C.$93,600 $1,200,000
Rep. Soloman Ortiz, D-Texas$40,200 $381,700
Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif.$24,900 $462,000
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.$128,200 $1,000,000
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.$50,200 $468,000
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.$127,000 $986,000
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.$531,500 $1,900,000
Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio$121,900 $519,700
Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz.$39,700 $1,200,000
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.$30,700 $403,600
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Ind.$20,500 $266,900
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo.$112,500 $524,200
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas$258,900 $1,300,000
Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind.$40,500 $405,800
Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio$169,300 $476,300
Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla.$79,200 $494,800
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.$202,600 $1,400,000
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas$42,500 $603,400
Rep. Patrick Tiberi, R-Ohio$555,500 $2,800,000
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.$81,700 $929,400
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.$180,700 $732,400
Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.0$715,700
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.$155,500 $580,200
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va.$90,400 $1,100,000
60 Republicans$15,873,400 $72,443,800
9 Democrats$1,108,400 $7,233,000
House Total$31,881,700 $97,209,700

Douchebag James O’Keefe Tries To Get CNN Reporter Onto His Dildo Lube Boat

Via Jack Stuef

CNN is doing a documentary on the three or four people who are young American conservative activists, so they decided they would follow around that criminal James O’Keefe, the guy who made those ACORN videos and tried to rape Mary Landrieu’s phones. But you know the one thing they weren’t expecting? They weren’t expecting James O’Keefe to try to lure CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau alone onto a boat filled with dildos and lube and a “condom jar” and “fuzzy handcuffs” and “an obvious sex tape machine,” so this is precisely what he did. Presumably it was to record himself raping her, of course, but O’Keefe says it was just a goof. Huh?

Thankfully, Boudreau was tipped off by O’Keefe’s female colleague, Izzy Santa. (Haha, IS HE SANTA? IS HE?)

“I noticed [Santa] had a little bit of dirt on her face, her lip was shaking, she seemed really uncomfortable and I asked her if she was OK,” Boudreau said. “The first thing she basically said to me was, ‘I’m not recording you, I’m not recording you. Are you recording me?’ I said, ‘No, I’m not recording you,’ and she showed me her digital recorder and it was not recording.”

Santa told Boudreau that O’Keefe planned to “punk” her by getting on a boat where hidden cameras were set up.

Haha, “punk’d,” that is a thing hip young people say in 2010.

CNN got hold of a document that supposedly is O’Keefe’s plans.

“Instead, I’ve decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I’m going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I’m going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she’ll get seduced on camera and you’ll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath.

Oh, we get it! It’s because all attractive women want to have sex with James O’Keefe. How can you resist that O’Keefe charm? CNN won’t like it very much when their reporter is forced to have sex with him on a boat! (Forced as in forced by her amazing sexual attraction to him, not rape or anything like that.)

This is why CNN should not employ women. They’re too liable to want to fuck James O’Keefe.

Also included in this story? This hilarious list of items in the boat!

Equipment needed

a. Video

1. hidden cams on the boat

2. tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine

b. Props

1. condom jar

2. dildos

3. Music

a. Alicia keys

b. 80s romance songs, things that are typically James

c. avoid Marvin Gaye as too cliche

4. lube

5. ceiling mirror

6. posters and paintings of naked women

7. playboys and pornographic magazines

8. candles

9. Viagra and stamina pills

10. fuzzy handcuffs

11. blindfold

Looks like journalism to us, James O’Keefe. [CNN]

A Political Blowjob

Via Ian Millhiser

On Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace noted that the GOP’s “Pledge To America” has been widely panned even by conservatives. In response, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who played a lead role in drafting the Pledge, claimed that two publications praised his plan:

WALLACE: Congressman McCarthy, a number of conservatives aren’t buying this. Let’s take a look at what Erick Erickson, of the conservative website RedState had to say about this document. He said “it is full of mom-tested, kid-approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.”

MCCARTHY: But National Review says it’s bolder than the Contract of ‘94. Wall Street Journal says it will do more to shrink the federal government. It’s like when the Contract came out. There’s going to be attacks on both sides.

Watch it:

McCarthy misrepresents the right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page’s reaction to the Pledge. In truth, the WSJ gave a the Pledge a decidedly mixed review, stating that the pledge is “less specific in offering new ideas than was the GOP’s 1994 Contract with America,” and it attacks the Pledge for its unambitious approach to earmarks, health care and tax policy.

The conservative National Review did indeed praise the Pledge, as “compelling,” “praiseworthy,” and “a shrewd political document,” but that’s only half the story. As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, the National Review’s hagiographic editorial was prearranged with GOP leadership. One Republican aide called the editorial a “political blowjob.”

There’s a reason why McCarthy could only cite one source that wholeheartedly endorses his party’s trainwreck of a plan. The National Review’s political fellatio aside, public reaction to the GOP Pledge has been almost universally negative.

Jon Stewart Highlights the GOP's Groundbreaking Same Old Ideas

People don't seem to be particularly impressed with the Republican Party's new Pledge to America, do they?

The way I see it, at least it got the Republicans recycling…


[IndecisionForever.com]

Republicans' "Pledge to America" Falls Short On Some of Its Facts.

Via Brooks Jackson

Summary

The Republican “Pledge to America,” released Sept. 23, contains some dubious factual claims:

  • It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs.
  • It says that “jobless claims continue to soar,” when in fact they are down eight percent from their worst levels.
  • It repeats a bogus assertion that the Internal Revenue Service may need to expand by 16,500 positions, an inflated estimate based on false assumptions and guesswork.
  • It claims the stimulus bill is costing $1 trillion, considerably more than the $814 billion, 10-year price tag currently estimated by nonpartisan congressional budget experts.
  • It says Obama’s tax proposals would raise taxes on “roughly half the small business income in America,” an exaggeration. Much of the income the GOP is counting actually comes from big businesses making over $50 million a year.
Analysis

The document, "A Pledge to America" is posted on the website of the Republicans in Congress.

Portrait or Caricature?

The Pledge is full of high-sounding pronouncements such as "America is an idea" and "an inspiration to those who yearn to be free." We won’t argue with any of that.

It is also full of partisan political opinions. At one point it says that an "unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people." The GOP is certainly entitled to state those opinions, and it’s not our role to argue for or against them. Nor is it our job to say whether the promises laid out in the document would be good policy or bad policy. That will be debated elsewhere for the remainder of the campaign.

Our role here, as always, is to say when facts cited to support the arguments are false or misleading. And there are plenty of factual claims to check out.

In general the Pledge draws a gloomy picture of the sputtering economy, the horrid state of joblessness, and a federal budget wracked by record deficits and ballooning debt. Many of the claims are true. But as might be expected in a partisan manifesto, this is a lopsided rendering. At times it is more caricature than portrait: any facts that might brighten it are simply left out, and some claims are exaggerated or incorrect.

The Economy

Pledge, page 5: Our economy has declined and our debt has mushroomed with the loss of millions of jobs.

Fact: It’s true that the economy lost nearly 8.4 million jobs from the peak of employment in December, 2007 to the bottom of the job slump in December of last year. More than half (4.4 million) were lost before Obama took office. The economy has regained 723,000 jobs since hitting bottom, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pledge, page 14: Private sector unemployment remains at or near 10 percent, jobless claims continue to soar, and the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.

Fact: It’s true that the unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, but that’s actually down from the peak of 10.1 percent reached last October. It’s also true that new claims for unemployment compensation – “jobless claims” – continue at a high level. But they are actually running eight percent lower than they did at their worst levels, so they are slowly declining, not soaring.

And it’s not the case that only government is growing. The opposite is true — the private sector has gained a net total of 763,000 jobs this year, according to the BLS.

But at the same time, the total number of government jobs has declined by about 40,000, despite a transitory spike in hiring by the Census Bureau to conduct its decennial head count. That spike is now over. The decline in overall government employment is mostly due to public schools shedding 62,000 positions as local property tax rolls decline due to plunging real-estate values.

Health Care

Pledge, page 26: The Obama Administration has been forced to acknowledge that the new law will force some 87 million Americans to drop their current coverage.

Fact: This is a misrepresentation. It’s true that the president over-promised when he repeatedly told Americans that "if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan." As we noted shortly before the bill passed, he can’t make that promise to everyone. It’s also true that after the bill passed, the administration released estimates showing that only about 55 percent of large employers and 34 percent of small employers would be offering the same insurance coverage in 2013 as they do now, under "grandfathering" rules. That works out to about 87 million workers — more or less — whose policies are likely to change in some way.

But it’s deceptive of the GOP to claim that employers of these workers will "drop" their coverage. It would be accurate to say they are expected to change it.

In many cases policies will be replaced by more generous coverage, accompanied by government subsidies to help pay the premiums. Some workers will lose grandfathered status merely because their employers buy substantially similar policies from a different insurance company. In other cases coverage might get worse — plans would lose grandfathered status if they were significantly changed to cut benefits; raise co-insurance payments, copays or deductibles; lower employer contributions; or add or tighten caps on payments. But while the law would allow this, it certainly does not "force" employers to reduce coverage, as many have done in the past.

Pledge, page 27: Skyrocketing medical liability insurance rates have distorted the practice of medicine, routinely forcing doctors to order costly and often unnecessary tests to protect themselves from lawsuits, often referred to as “defensive medicine."

Fact: The claim that "defensive medicine" contributes to high medical costs is true — but it doesn’t add much. For years the majority of economic studies consistently failed to validate the claim that fear of lawsuits drove up costs by any measurable amount, as we reported extensively in 2004. But last year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office revised its thinking based on new studies, and concluded that limiting malpractice liability would reduce total national health care spending by about one-half of 1 percent, or about $11 billion in 2009.

The new health care law addresses that by giving five-year demonstration grants to states to come up with alternatives to malpractice lawsuits. The Pledge promises "common sense" reforms to "rein in junk lawsuits." Just don’t expect them to lower health costs by much.

Pledge, page 28: Roughly 16,500 IRS auditors, agents, and other employees may be needed to collect the hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes levied on the American people by the new health care law.

Fact: This is simply not true. As we reported last March, this figure "stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation." For an eye-opening account of how Republican staff members of the House Ways and Means committee came up with this inflated figure, see our Ask FactCheck item posted March 30. Most of what the IRS will do under the law is hand out tax credits, not collect penalties.

Stimulus Bill

Pledge, page 14: The trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending bill

Pledge, page 15: . . .the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ was signed into law

Fact: The stimulus bill is a big one, but CBO says it won’t cost $1 trillion, even spread over 10 years. CBO’s most recent estimate puts the price tag to $814 billion. That’s higher than originally estimated at the time of passage, but still well short of $1 trillion.

Pledge, page 15: Despite the ‘stimulus’ and Democrats’ promises the unemployment rate would remain below eight percent, the unemployment rate climbed from 7.7 percent in January 2009 to 9.5 percent in August 2010.

Republicans have a point here, as we noted some time ago. Back in July of last year we wrote, “the original projections from President Obama’s economic advisers on what would happen with and without the stimulus plan are still off — and significantly so.” But nobody “promised” that unemployment would remain below 8 percent.

As we also wrote in June of last year, the White House explanation was simple: “They say President George Bush left them a worse mess than they realized" when Obama’s advisers came up with their predictions. And that’s true. The original chart – produced Jan. 9, 2009 — was based on economic projections that were in line with what private economists were forecasting. Those forecasts were being revised for the worse even before any stimulus money was spent.

And for the record, CBO’s experts calculate that the stimulus has had a positive effect on employment. In its most recent report on the measure, the agency estimated that in the second quarter of 2010, stimulus spending lowered the unemployment rate between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points and increased the number of people working between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.

Small Business

Pledge, page 14: [Obama] also wants to raise taxes on roughly half of small business income in America.

Fact: This is an exaggeration. Republicans are equating "net positive business income" reported on individual returns with "small business income," which isn’t correct. They rely on a report from the nonpartisan staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (p. 12), which estimated that about 3 percent of taxpayers who have any business income on their personal returns would see a tax increase under Obama’s proposal, and that those 750,000 taxpayers account for about half of all the business income reported.

But some of that income is from big businesses raking in tens of millions of dollars a year. The JCT stated quite clearly that "These figures for net positive business income do not imply that all of the income is from entities that might be considered ’small.’" Some in fact are quite large, and those big businesses account for a good chunk of that income.

The JCT said: "For example, in 2005, 12,862 S corporations and 6,658 partnerships had receipts of more than $50 million."

Republicans do have a point here. Many small businesses and some large fraction of small-business income will be adversely impacted by raising the top rate on individual taxpayers.

The fact is, though, that the JCT couldn’t estimate how much of the total business income was accounted for by "small" businesses, or how many of the 750,000 individuals affected own "small" busineses. What we do know is that a good deal less than half the small business income, and something less than three percent of small business owners, would be subject to higher taxes.

Taxes

Pledge, page 14: Unless action is taken, a $3.8 trillion tax hike will go into effect on January 1, 2011 that will unravel these policies. A family of four with a household income of $50,000 a year will have to pay $2,900 more in taxes in 2011.

Fact: True, but misleading. What the Pledge fails to note is that Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have consistently promised to extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making less than $250,000 a year, and singles making less than $200,000. It’s true that hasn’t happened yet, but the reason is that several House and Senate Democrats are agitating to extend the cuts for everybody, even those with the highest incomes.

Congress might yet fail to extend most or all the cuts before they are scheduled to expire next year. As we reported in a Sept. 3 Ask FactCheck item on this issue, there’s always a possibility that Congress will grind to a halt in a stalemate. And sure enough, on Sept. 23 Senate Democrats announced they would put off any vote on extending the cuts until after the election. A spokesman for Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said, "Democrats believe we must permanently extend tax cuts for the middle-class before they expire at the end of the year, and we will."

Can We Please Learn From TeaBaggery Mistakes?

There's a lot of folks sending me DMs about me not being a purist and throwing my support behind the Democrats in Alaska and Florida Senate races.

For the record... I'm all for McAdams and Meeks. I have no problems with either of these exemplary liberal Democrats as candidates... other than their current status in electability. I am a pragmatic realist, not a pie-in-the-sky dreamer. My priority in support is as follows:

1) Keep the crazy-ass wingnut teabagger out of the US Senate.

2) Put the most electable liberal Democrat in the seat.

3) If step 2 is unattainable, refer to step 1.

Am I missing something in the way of pure logic, science and math here?

Do try to remember why we were all so overjoyed and elated when the teabaggers shot themselves in the foot for November general election Senate race in Delaware:


And what does our boys' situations look like? Let's see Meek's probability of a win...



1.7% chance of a win?? OUCH!! Not too good. How about Scott McAdams...?


This is only one Rasmussen poll of likely voters, but 3.3% is STILL not pretty.

Folks, if Scott McAdams support EVER exceeds Lisa Murkowski, or Kendrick Meek's level of support surges past Charlie Crist between now and election day... I'll get behind the mule, pucker up, kiss your ass and admit I was wrong. But not until then.

Don't blame Dems who are trying to keep the crazy teabagger out of office... just because you wanted ideological "purity" and an unelectable weak candidate.

GOP to Tea Party: Your Votes Yes, Your Ideas No!

Via FrumForum

I had a good chuckle at Erick Erickson’s enraged piece on the Republican pledge, now being circulated by Democratic spinmeisters.

Question for Erickson: What did he expect?

Here is the GOP cruising to a handsome election victory. Did you seriously imagine that they would jeopardize the prospect of victory and chairmanships by issuing big, bold promises to do deadly unpopular things?

But if the document is unsurprising, it’s also unsurprising that Erickson and those who think like him would find it enraging. The “Pledge to America” is a repudiation of the central, foundational idea behind the Tea Party. Tea Party activists have been claiming all year that there exists in the United States a potential voting majority for radically more limited government.

The Republican “Pledge to America” declares: Sorry, we don’t believe that. We shall cut spending where we can – reform the legislative process in important ways – and sever the federal guarantee for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans will redirect the federal government to a new path that is less expensive and intrusive than the status quo. But if you want promises of radical change? No. Too risky. We don’t think the voters want that – not the smaller, older, richer, whiter electorate that votes in non-presidential years, much less the bigger, younger, poorer, less white electorate of presidential years. And even that smaller, older, richer, whiter electorate is highly wary of cuts to programs that benefit them, Medicare above all.

But the real news is this: You can primary a Bob Bennett, you can nominate a Sharron Angle, you can balk Karl Rove and Mike Castle – but when decision hour arrives, the leadership of the party rejects the assessment of the American electorate offered by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Armey and for that matter Erick Erickson.

Yet at the same time, we so-called RINOs can take no pleasure in this document. Yes, there is good in it. (Putting legislative language online 72 hours in advance seems Good Government 101.) The silly bits are not too silly: the promise to cite specific constitutional language is an empty sop to those so-called constitutionalists who vainly hope to revive the John Randolph school of constitutional interpretation.

But the true sad news is that this is not a document to govern with in the recessionary year 2010. It’s fine to reject Tea Party illusions. But without an alternative modern Republican affirmative program, the GOP will find itself at risk of being captured and controlled by special interests instead.

The most admirable thing about the Tea Party is its zeal to find a bigger message for the Republican Party than: do what K Street wants. The message offered by the Tea Party may have been unworkable, unrealistic, or worse – but at least it was large and public-spirited.

I’d like to see a Modern Republicanism that responds better to the needs of the country, while retaining still the Tea Party’s reforming spirit. What I fear is the worst of all worlds: a Republican majority that rejects not only extremist ideas, but all ideas.

GOP 'Pledge For America' Author Lobbied For AIG, Exxon, Pfizer, Chamber

Via Sam Stein

The Republican Party's 21-page blueprint, "Pledge to America," was put together with oversight by a House staffer who, up till April 2010, served as a lobbyist for some of the nation's most powerful oil, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies.

In a draft version of The Pledge that was being passed around to reporters before the official release, the document properties list "Wild, Brian" as the "Author." A GOP source said that Wild -- who is on House Minority Leader John Boehner's payroll -- did help author the governing platform that the party is unveiling on Thursday. Another aide said that as the executive director of the Republican leadership group American Speaking Out, Wild's tasks were more on the administrative side of the operations.

Until early this year, Wild was a fairly active lobbyist on behalf of the firm the Nickles Group, the lobbying shop set up by the former Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Don Nickles. During his five years at the firm, Wild, among others, was paid $740,000 in lobbying contracts from AIG, the former insurance company at the heart of the financial collapse; $800,000 from energy giant Andarko Petroleum; more than $1.1 million from Comcast, more than $1.3 million from Exxon Mobil; and $625,000 from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc.

Not all of his work has been done in the world of influence peddling. From 2001 through 2004, Wild was the legislative director for then Representative Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) the current Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania. From 2004 through 2005 he was a Deputy Assistant For Legislative Affairs to Vice President Dick Cheney. There also was a tenure on the staff of former Colorado Republican Senator Hank Brown.

But the career door has been revolving. And in between his time in Johnson and Toomey's office, Wild served as a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he helped steer more than $34 million worth of lobbying activity for the business interest group.

Past associations with entities like the Chamber are hardly character disqualifiers, certainly on the Republican side of the aisle where fidelity to the business lobby is a virtue. But having been paid to lobby on behalf of major companies with legislative business before Congress does create an obvious optics problem for Republican leaders hoping to promote their agenda as clean of big-moneyed influence.

Asked about the perception of conflicting interests, Brendan Buck, a spokesperson for the House GOP Legislative Initiatives stressed that there was none. Wild, he said, played a role in steering "The Pledge" project. But he was not involved in actually authoring its specific provisions -- a task saved for the actual members.

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"Brian's job as much as anything has been to keep the trains running between all the leadership offices and members who contributed," said Buck. "The contents of our agenda, however, were written by our members, based on the priorities they heard from the American people. Staffers don't write things like this - they carry out the orders of the members they work for."

Below is a snapshot of the document priorities of "The Pledge" listing Wild as the author:

With additional reporting by Amanda Terkel

DE-Sen: O'Donnell, In Her Own Words

MSNBC, Joe Scarborough's show, 11/13/2002:

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: So Eric, what do you tell them? Do you tell them safe sex?

ERIC NIES: You're going to stop the whole country from having sex?

O'DONNELL: Yes.

Listen up Christine O'Donnell, it's our coochies!! We'll play with them whenever we damn well feel like it. It's our Constitutionally protected right. Keep your big government out of my hot mess!!

Here's Constitutional scholar Cyndi Lauper:
She bop he bop a we bop
I bop you bop a they bop
Exactly!! It's a perfectly safe and harmless procedure enjoyed by a plurality of THE ENTIRE WORLD. And if you were willing to be honest, you are too!
Hey, hey they say I better get a chaperone
Because I can't stop messin' with the danger zone
I won't worry, and I won't fret
Ain't no law against it yet
NO LAW! Nuff said. Thank you, Cyndi.


Kinda Makes Me Sad For Them... Almost

Maybe my twilight years won't suck after all.

Via Andrew Pavelyev

The long election cycle of 2010 is finally (almost) over. Yes, the general election still remains, but that’s almost an afterthought, since it is shaping to be the most boring and inconsequential federal election in a generation (seriously, will it make any real practical difference whether the Republicans pick 5 or 50 House seats?). The real action in this election cycle was in the Republican primaries, they are almost over, and we already know who won: (drum roll, please!) President Obama. American conservatives have suffered a crushing and lasting defeat. The center of gravity in American politics has shifted permanently and irreversibly to the left (and conservative ideology will eventually follow).

The saddest thing is that this conservative calamity is mostly self-inflicted. More and more conservatives get Oprah-cized (one of their favorite leaders, Sarah Palin is sometimes called “the conservative Oprah”, and in my humble opinion Glenn Beck deserves that title too). They now believe that expressing their feelings (e.g. by nominating quixotic candidates) is more important than trying to influence government policies (e.g. by nominating viable candidates). They withdraw from practical politics and instead join a protest movement. They march in the streets in tricorn hats while the liberals (whom they unwittingly help to put in office) are creating new entitlements and raising taxes.

Obama’s biggest victory so far has been in the Pennsylvania Republican primary, and it occurred a whole year before any votes were actually cast: a strong primary challenge prompted Sen. Specter to change parties, and that gave the Democrats the magic 60 votes that they needed to pass Obamacare without any sort of compromise with Republicans. Apparently, for some conservatives that was an acceptable price for purging an elderly RINO. But there were many other victories as well. Many vulnerable Democratic congressional candidates got their dream opponents (the latest example is Christine O’Donnell – unfortunately, just one of many, way too many, examples). So the GOP gains in November will be smaller than they could be. Furthermore, a lot of those gains will be easily reversible. In 2012 Obama will be on the ballot, and that will almost certainly increase the Democratic turnout (just as in 2008). Many Republicans who manage to squeak by this year will not survive 2012. And it can be even worse than in 2008 since not only will a lot of newly won Republicans seats be in danger, but some long-held seats will be in play as well, because in this year’s primaries retiring GOP congressmen and even some incumbents (not only moderates but also real conservatives like Bennett in the Senate and Inglis in the House!) were replaced with candidates who may be too conservative for their districts.

Even if Republicans capture the House this November, they will have a barely functional majority – a 225-210 split is about the best we can realistically hope for – and will be almost certain to lose the House again in 2012, potentially even by a worse margin than in 2008. Such a scenario would be devastating to conservative causes, since Obama would claim that his own re-election victory combined with his party wrestling the House from the GOP (and expanding their Senate majority) gives him a clear mandate to implement his agenda (rather than pursue bipartisanship). And make no mistake, that’s the mandate Obama plans to get before pursuing his remaining agenda. All the talk about the importance of this year’s election in stopping Obama is just talk. There’s nothing to stop! Obama was done with his first term several months ago. He knew from the very start that his popularity would decline and that his party would likely lose seats in the midterm elections, so he could not have possibly planned to leave any important part of his first-term agenda for the second half of that term. He did what he could (and that’s a lot) in the first 18 months or so, and the rest will just have to wait for a new mandate. If anything, a small and rudderless (but increasingly ideological) GOP majority in the House will actually make it easier for Obama to win re-election.

Obamacare is not the only lasting effect from this year’s primaries. The Senate seats that the Republicans threw away (the seat in Delaware has just been added to this list) will now be in the hands of Democrats for 6 years, and some of them will not realistically come into play again for much longer than that. Who knows, the Republican president in 2025 (I’m not very optimistic we will see one earlier than that) may have some important part of his agenda derailed because of coming up one Senate vote short (thanks to a Democrat rather than Republican representing Delaware).

But there are still even worse and more lasting effects – which we will never be able to quantify. We will never know how many talented young people contemplating entering Republican politics (especially in swing states) will decide to pursue other career options instead because of all the ugliness they saw in this primary season (nor how many congressional Republicans will retire earlier than they otherwise would). But we can be sure that conservatism will be suffering for decades because of their decisions.


Oh, and this whole thread is like porn for liberals.

DE-Sen: Fight! Fight! Fight!

An aide to defeated Rep. Mike Castle:

"She is a con artist who won by lying about Castle's positions and her own life," said Kate Dickens, a Castle aide. "Out of state support was enough to pull her through yesterday so she can rely on it through November."

Karl Rove:

“I’ve met her. I wasn’t frankly impressed by her abilities as a candidate,” Rove said during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “One thing that O’Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn't in the primary is her own checkered background.”

“There were a lot of nutty things she has been saying that don't add up,” Rove added.

“Why did she mislead voters about her college education? How come it took nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree? How did she make a living?”

Some random GOP "strategists":

In Wilmington, Republican strategist Don Mell and his wife, Jeanne, who is a Democrat, walked across the street from Castle's party to Coons' primary watch party at a nearby pub. The couple donned Castle pins when they arrived at the Coons event and picked up one of the Democrat's yard signs.

"I'm not voting for that woman-she's crazy," Don Mell said. "There isn't going to be any discussion about that."

O'Donnell's supporters punch back.

Back at O'Donnell's party in Dover, the mood was triumphant, rather than conciliatory.

O'Donnell supporters wearing light blue t-shirts that read, "Team Christine" gloated over their victory by posing in front of a Castle yard sign in front of the stage, on which someone had scribbled "GOOD BYE!" in bright red letters under the congressman's name.

"We could care less about the Republican Party," said O'Donnell volunteer Brad Flora of Camden, Delaware. "We want our government back.

And Rove is suddenly not so popular. One conservative blogger wrote:

Rarely have I seen such childishness from the supposed leaders of a political establishment, who set the very rules and customs they now want to ignore because they just got embarrassed on a national stage. Grow up, shut up, and get to work."

Another called for Rove to be kicked off Fox News and "investigated".

Especially given his comments on Fox News tonight, until this is resolved, it seems impossible to trust Rove as an objective analyst. In terms of the conservative movement, we should not simply ignore him, but proactively work to undermine Rove in whatever ways we can, given his obvious willingness to undermine us.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are furious at Jim DeMint:

“It speaks volumes that in Jim DeMint’s world, the ‘principles of freedom’ are more important than a candidate who pays their taxes, is honest with voters and who isn’t a complete fraud,” said a senior GOP aide. “Senator DeMint may be patting himself on the back tonight but many Republicans look forward to post-November 2nd when he has to explain why he helped the Democrats retain the majority for yet another two years.”

This is but a taste, people, for what's to come if Republicans don't take the Senate and/or House this fall. This is a hint of the glorious civil war that will break out amongst the GOP if we can hold the line.

They expect outright control. If we deny them that, they will fracture like we've never seen them fracture before.

If for nothing else, this preview of (possible) coming attractions should motivate you for some serious GOTV this fall.

Teabagger Values: Racism, Pornography, Beastiality...

Via Daily Gotham

Remember when Republicans wanted to impeach President Clinton because he had consensual sex with a woman other than his wife? They portrayed themselves as champions of morality. Well, that facade is long shot away by people like Newt Gingrich (abandoning his wife for a younger woman while his wife was ill with cancer), Congressman Don Sherwood (abusing and attempting to choke the woman he was having an extra-marital affair with), Congressman Mark Foley (soliciting sex with a 16-year old man), well...need I continue?

For the strong of stomach, here is a list of Republican sex scandals, almost all of which make Bill Clinton's consensual affair look very tame by comparison.

Well, here in NY State we have a really, REALLY nasty scandal that is breaking. I first heard about it this morning, but it seems to be taking off.New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, a darling of the Teabaggers, apparently is in the habit of emailing racist emails and videos as well as videos of bestiality and pornography. According to Daily Kos (as well as an email I saw this morning), Paladino has sent emails that include:

# A popular video among white supremacists called "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal," that includes dancing African tribesmen.

# A video titled "Miss France 2008 fucking," that Paladino called "a keeper."

# An image of Barack and Michelle Obama dressed like a pimp and a prostitute, with the subject line, "White House ball."

# An image with the caption, "HOLY SHIT, run niggers, run."

# A bestiality video featuring a man and a horse.

And apparently that is just the tip of the iceberg. I mean THIS GUY WANTS TO BE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK!!! And the Teabaggers and Republicans love him. He even has Michael Caputo (another Republican sleaze that Daily Gotham has taken on) running his campaign.

White supremacy, racism, pornography, and bestiality. Are THESE the values of the Teabaggers, Michael Caputo, and the Republican Party? The evidence suggests it is. Paladino is just one in a VERY long line of Republican sleazebags who love to talk about morality but in practice are nastier and than "immoral" Democrats like I could ever imagine.

Will the Republicans support Paladino the way they did Mark Foley and Newt Gingrich when their sleazy hypocrisy came out? Or will they take a lesson from Democrats and reject him the way we did with Hiram Monserrate and William "frozen money" Jefferson?

Update: Via TPM:

Paladino's campaign manager, Michael Caputo, would not comment on specific emails, but acknowledged to TPMmuckraker that Paladino had sent emails that were "off-color" and "politically incorrect," saying that few such emails represented the candidate's own opinion. Caputo accused Democrats of wanting to change the subject from substantive issues to "having sex with horses."

Uh ... sure.


Why Do They All Keep Saying We're Racist?

Via Vyan

At a July 4th Tea Party Rally in Lexington Kentucky... T-Shirts declaring "Yup,' I'm a Racist!" were sold.

The shirt says on the front: Yup, I'm a Racist

On the back: if the Government Says so Because...

  1. I support the Constitution
  1. I support Free Speech
  1. I support the Right to Bear Arms
  1. I support the Bill of Rights
  1. I support Capitalism
  1. I support NO Government Bailouts
  1. I support closing the border
  1. I support the Military
  1. I support the Tea Party
  1. I support Jesus Christ as My Savior.

This admirable list of policy opposition is not why anyone in the Tea Party was ever associated with or accused of bigotry or racism.

This is...

June 14, 2008
Stick a Pin in It

Feb 25, 2009
Mayor Hits Rough Patch Over Watermelon Pic

Sept 26, 2009
Obama as witch doctor: Racist or satirical?

Jan 4, 2010
‘N-Word’ Sign Dogs Would-Be Tea Party Leader

Feb 12, 2010
Racist Republican Reactionaries?
Why the Tea Party and Republicans are being Charged with Racism

Feb 25, 2010
Latinos Launching Campaign Exposing Tea Party Racism


April 12, 2010
1) Tea Party NY Gov Candidate's E-Mails Exposed: Racism, Porn, Bestiality
2) NY Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino’s Racist and Sexist Email History

April 14, 2010
New York Times/CBS News survey
- Mr. Obama does not understand the problems of people like themselves.
- More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor
- 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites
- that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

April 15, 2010
Tea party leaders anxious about extremists

July 15, 2010
Tea Party Leader Mocks NAACP "Coloreds" In Online Screed

April 26, 2010
Are Tea Partiers Racist?
A new study shows that the movement's supporters are more likely to be racially resentful.

July 20, 2010
Man Rightly Fired for Eating Watermelon at Company Picnic, Calling it "Obama Fruit"

July 22, 2010
Racism Rift Highlights Dilemma: Who Speaks for the Tea Party?

Aug 3, 2010
Tea Party Racism? What Tea Party Racism?

Aug 18, 2010
'N-Word' Rant Ends Dr. Laura's 30-Year Radio Career

Sept 13, 2010
Parade Float Shows Obama Whipping “Future Tax Payer”

Sept 14, 2010
How Republicans Party

Sept 14, 2010
Greer Apologizes To Obama For GOP Racism, Recants Critique Of Socialist Indoctrination School Speech

Sept 17, 2010
Republican Ex-Senator Calls Out 'Racist Bullshit' on Fox Business Network

Sept 19, 2010
Get That Worthless Nigger Out Of The White House

David Bowie - Heroes @ Concert For New York City


Still as heart wrenching as it was 9 years ago.

Articulating The Message (or just typical straight up GOP lying)

The audacity of "bailout blame" hypocrisy.

The awesome! It burns! Here's an excellent example of why Maddow won the
2010 Walter Cronkite award...


I swear, these idiots act like their policy positions aren't recently recorded history.

It's the Stupid, Stupid

From Bob Cesca

Via Kevin Drum, the new Washington Post poll shows across-the-board preference for the Democrats over the Republicans on everything from the economy to personal values. On the "deserve to be re-elected" question, Republicans are less deserving of re-election than Democrats.

But more people said they're going to vote for Republicans anyway.

As Drum notes, it's the economy. And I agree, but I would add that it's also stupidity. Many of the most determined voters right now are people who believe the Obama administration is somehow banning prayer and indoctrinating children. They don't realize that 30 percent of the first stimulus was tax cuts. They don't realize that less spending and deficit reduction will make things worse. Most of all, they're willing to let the Republicans have a stab at governing again, even though they believe the Republicans are less competent and less capable. Pure insanity.

They "Try and Thrawrt Attempts at Expanding the State, Period."

Republican Chuck Hagel just does not understand his party's role in this whole democratic process.

Via Think Progress

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), the chairman of the Atlantic Council, recently sat down for an interview with the Washington Diplomat. In the interview, the former senator touched on a variety of topics, including what he feels is the need for the United States to “unwind” from the war in Afghanistan. Towards the end of the interview, Hagel says that while he has “no plans to renounce his membership in the party,” he finds that the Republican Party of which he is a part is not “presenting any new alternatives, any new options, or any new thinking“:

“I don’t see them presenting any alternatives, any new options or any new thinking,” Hagel said. “If the Republicans get back in power, what are they going to do? There is no articulation. It’s just a ‘no no no, I’m against Obama because he’s a socialist and he’s taking America in the wrong direction.’ That’s certainly an opinion, but what about you, Mr. Republican? What would you do?”

In fact, leading Republicans like Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Peter King have proudly embraced the “no, no, no” agenda. Hagel told the interviewer that he remains confident that his party will once again rebuild itself. “The Republican Party will find a new center of gravity,” he said. “I think they’ll let this nonsense play out. It’s like a bad storm — it just has to go through.”

"Nonsense" is a pretty strong word, Chuck. Careful or you will soon find yourself purged.

(h/t to "J" for the most excellent title)

Daniel Larison on Erik Kain and Conservatism

Via The American Conservative

Daniel Larison writes:

As I have said before, I don’t think the GOP will win the House, but if that did happen it would primarily be bad news for the Republican Party and the conservative movement. If that seems a little too counter-intuitive for you, let me explain. Should the GOP somehow win the House, they will not have earned it and they will not deserve it, and they will proceed to destroy themselves in very short order. Arguably, there was nothing worse for the American right than to be given the free gift of winning the 2002 midterms, because this win encouraged them to pursue the policies that proved to be their undoing, and a similar win in 2010 would have the same effect of enabling Republicans’ most destructively self-indulgent impulses. As one horrified by the prospect of Republicans in power, Erik should look forward to this.

After all, even if the Republicans won the House there would not be much that they could do once in office, except waste their time as they did in the ’90s hauling executive branch officials before committees to testify on this or that outrage of the week. They would likely be stymied by the Democratic majority in the Senate on any major legislation, and Obama would veto just about anything they passed if it somehow got to his desk. At the same time, Obama would make them into a much more effective foil for his arguments once they had some hold on power, and out of frustration they would become increasingly obsessed with “getting” Obama and become even less interested in representing the interests of their constituents.

The Closing of the Conservative Mind

Preach it, brother Frum

We are likely soon to have a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, maybe the U.S. Senate too. And what will that majority do? The answer seems to be: They have not a clue. Unlike the Republican House and Senate majorities of 1994, unlike the Republican Senate majority of 1980, these new majorities will arrive with only slogans for a policy agenda.
..
The loser is a conservative political movement waiting at the end of the intellectual conveyor belt for a product that increasingly arrives so shoddy and defective that it might as well not come at all.

(h/t @mattyglesias)

Just a Reminder for the Civil Rights Revisionists

And a reminder for the new Glenn Beck "champions of racial tolerance"....

To support the claim that Republicans were actually the architects of civil rights, conservatives often point out that a “higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the civil-rights bill.” But this ignores the “distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians” on the issue. When this is taken into account, the facts show that “in both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.”

(June 1, 1999) in the Washington Times, R.D. Davis, a member of the black leadership network Project 21 and a writer and radio talk show host in Huntsville, Ala., commented that, "History tends to unilaterally and falsely depict Republicans as racists when Southern Democrats truly deserved this title." In defense of his argument he cites the voting record of Democrats and Republicans on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. On this monumental piece of legislation, Republicans supported the bill 27-6 in the Senate (82%) and 138-34 in the House (80%) while Democrats supported the bill 46-21 in the Senate (69%) and 152-96 in the House (61%). On the surface it would indeed appear that the Republicans, and not the Democrats as commonly assumed, were the champions of civil rights in the 1960s.

However, a slightly more careful analysis of the Civil Rights Act voting record shows a distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians. Among the southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia), Senate Democrats voted 1-21 against the bill (5%) while Republicans voted 0-1 (0%). In the House, southern Democrats voted 7-87 (7%) while southern Republicans voted 0-10 (0%). Among the remaining states, Democrats voted 145-9 in favor of the bill (94%) while Republicans voted 138-24 for the bill (85%).

In both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.