Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wingnuts: The Bush Recovery Edition

Josh Marshall's Deep Thought 
People should stop pretending Obama's the Messiah and get back to bedrock Americanism like praising Ronaldus Magnus. 

DougJ :The Obama recession is over, the Bush recovery has begun
So says Neil Cavuto:

I guess the next logical question is whether or not the ombudsman at the New York Times will explore the issue of why the paper’s reporters aren’t covering the Bush recovery that all the conservatives are talking about.
Sorry, Neil, you should have dressed as a pimp for that segment.
  • from the comments: 


    Bush recovery, my ass. This is the Reagan recovery.

When the Dow Jones closed about 10,000 yesterday, it stood to reason that Republicans would try to prevent President Obama from getting any credit for improved economic conditions. It was perhaps not quite as predictable to have Fox News personalities start crediting George W. Bush for the more favorable economic landscape.

And yet, there was Neil Cavuto yesterday talking up the notion of a "Bush recovery" on the air yesterday. The on-screen chyron read, "Is this now the 'Bush Recovery'?" The analysis seemed to answer the question in the affirmative.
This reminds me a bit of Dana Perino's Fox News analysis in March, when the major Wall Street indexes started recovering. As she saw it, at least some credit for the turnaround should go to the administration that left office two months prior. "Can all the credit go specifically to President Obama? Well, I would say no," Perino said. "We are just going to have to take a while to let all of this settle down and let the policies that our administration and the new administration are trying to put in place have a chance to work."
Just so we're clear, here's a helpful guide to the rules of Wall Street watching, as they relate to partisan politics:
When the markets went down on Bush's watch before the 2008 elections, this was Bill Clinton's fault.
When the markets went down on Bush's watch between November 2008 and January 2009, this was Barack Obama's fault.
When the markets went down during Obama's first seven weeks in office, this was definitely Barack Obama's fault.
And when the markets rally throughout Obama's first year in office, George W. Bush deserves at least some of the credit.
It's good to know -- positive developments are evidence of Republican wisdom, and negative developments are evidence of Democratic failure.
Remember when you were a kid and someone told you, "I'll flip a coin -- heads I win, tails you lose"? It's kind of like that.
Speaking of Reagan . . . 
One of the more common complaints in conservative circles about President Obama is that his supporters like him too much. The right mocks the president's support with snide admonishments like "Messiah" and "The One." It's not at all unusual for Fox News personalities to compare admiration for Obama to authoritarian regimes like North Korea or Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
And every time I hear the right whining about Democrats holding Obama in high regard, I ask myself the same question: aren't you the guys who embrace cult-like worship of Ronald Reagan?
Reagan devotion is so hopelessly ridiculous in some circles that the Republican National Committee, without a hint of humor or irony, has come up with a new name for the former president.
The new Republican National Committee Web site has been derided for its "GOP Heroes" section -- which teaches us that almost all of the great Republicans lived in the 1800's, and about half of them were black -- but there's another illustrious name on the list: Ronaldus Magnus.
The site's page on Ronald Reagan includes this citation of the party's great hero, giving him a stylized name we might see on a Roman emperor.
This isn't a joke, and the RNC's site wasn't hacked to make the party appear foolish. The Republican National Committee literally referred to the 40th president as "Ronaldus Magnus." The published name was used almost in passing, as if it were routine to describe the former president, in Latin, as Ronald the Great. And for all I know, at RNC headquarters, this is routine.
This really isn't healthy. I realize that Reagan is the only modern Republican president that the party is still proud of, but when the Republican National Committee seriously starts using phrases like "Ronaldus Magnus," it suggests the cult has started drinking the Kool Aid by the gallon.
Conservative hero worship of Reagan has been a little too creepy for a while now, with that misguided "Legacy Project" putting the former president's name everywhere. But with "Ronaldus Magnus," Republicans are just humiliating themselves. Even Kim Jung Il followers don't do stuff like this.
Fortunately, after TPM inquired about the Roman renaming of the former president, the Republican National Committee edited the site and started using Reagan's actual name. That's a good move.
But I wonder what the reaction might be if the Democratic National Committee casually referred to President Obama as Barackus Magnus. I have a hunch we'd never hear the end of it.
Josh Marshall: Grand Unified Theory of #GopComFail 
In addition to the weird and now deleted reference to Ronald Reagan as "Ronaldus Magnus", you may have noticed that the site is filled with a lot of what might generously be called non-standard history -- like the idea that the Republican party is made up mainly of people from the 19th century, about half of whom are black. Well we did a little digging and it turns out Steele turned over a lot of the job to a fringe-ish amateur historian named Michael Zak. Meet him here.

 DougJ: Obama should share the prize with Jesus and Reagan Ronaldus Magnus
As much of a tool as Brian Williams is, he was an upgrade from Tom Brokaw.
Why is our discourse dominated by men of diminished mental faculties who are past any normal retirement age?

John Cole: As Usual, DougJ is Right
No, we will not have a serious discussion about the death penalty. In fact, if you want to be exceptionally horrified, check out this Kay Bailey Hutchison statement referencing Rick Perry’s actions:
“As hard as Rick Perry’s office and his campaign may try to divert from the issue, this is not about one man or one case. The issue is Rick Perry’s heavy-handed politicization of a process and Commission established by the legislature to provide critical oversight. First, Rick Perry delayed the formation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, then he tried to ensure it didn’t have funding and when all else failed, he fired everyone he could. The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up.
She’s not concerned that an innocent man might have been killed by the state. She’s concerned that evil liberals might get in the way of killing more people.
And she is the “moderate.” These people are fucking sociopaths.
I’m reminded of the time a couple of weeks ago when Matt Welch finally, for a brief moment, mused that gun nuts attending Presidential events might not be a good thing, but only because Justin Raimondo pointed out that if someone did pop a cap in someone, it would be bad for… libertarianism. Again, you can’t make this shit up.
*** Update ***
Sorry, Publius. Kay is running to the RIGHT of Perry on this one. The real problem is not the possible execution of an innocent man or Perry’s apparent perversion of the investigation. The problem is the hash you goddamned liberals will make of the death penalty.
It isn’t a few bad apples with the GOP. The whole damned barrel is rotten to the core.
  •  publius: Perry and the Politics of Capital Punishment 

    Rick Perry has apparently decided to double down on Willingham.  After multiple articles came out documenting inappropriate political pressure on the investigation, Perry came out firing yesterday.  Here's the Houston Chronicle:
    Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday defended his actions in the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, calling him a “monster” and a “bad man” who murdered his children.
    Fortunately, though, the story seems to be getting national legs -- which probably explains why Perry felt the need to further shame himself today.
    Here's a question, though, that I've been thinking about lately:   Why exactly is Texas so terrible on capital punishment?  It's an urban, diverse state -- conservative to be sure, but not more so than many other states.  Why exactly, then, does Texas execute so enthusiastically?  Are there structural explanations?
    I don't know what the actual origins of Texas's lust for execution are.  But I have an idea of why it continues -- basically, I think it's a function of intra-GOP politics. 
    Interestingly, Texas has two "Supreme Courts."  The Texas Supreme Court is the highest appellate court for civil matters, while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court for criminal cases.  Both courts are 100% Republican.  Also, the judges are all elected -- and each one of them runs state-wide.  Thus, even though Texas is only majority Republican, the election structure produces courts that are 100% Republican.
    My own pet theory, then, is that capital punishment has become an ideological issue on which aspiring GOP politicians must show party loyalty to get elected and to ascend the intra-party hierarchy.  If, however, they show the slightest hesitancy on executing the inadequately represented, their future in politics is over.
    In short, ostentatious support for capital punishment-on-demand is all benefit and no cost for ambitious GOP judges and officials.
    What's interesting about the Perry controversy, then, is that it has the potential to change this calculus.  For the first time, an elected official may actually pay a political price for knee-jerk support for capital punishment.  If he does, that would obviously be good in and of itself because Perry is an immoral man.  But it would also open political space for skeptical GOP officials, including judges.
    I refuse to believe that every single Texas GOP judge and elected official feels just fine about the Texas criminal justice system.  But, neither can I realistically expect them to ignore political incentives.  If, however, Perry took a big political hit, then maybe that calculus would suddenly change.
    That's why I wish Hutchison would go all in on this issue.  Texas has open primaries, meaning I could go vote for her if I wanted to.  And if she got serious about this issue, I think I might.  The Republican primary is going to decide the election anyway.  So it would be nice to have a Republican who got there because of Democratic cross-over votes. 
    Certainly better than the alternative.

sgw: The Congressional Asshat Caucus
Several members of the GOP Congressional Anti Terrorism Anti Muslim Caucus decided to hold a big news conference yesterday and accuse the group CAIR with a conspiracy to "infiltrate" the government with Muslims. Their evidence? A book written by wingnut World Net Daily author Dave Gaubatz who made this statement last year.
“a vote for Hussein Obama is a vote for Sharia Law.”
Please for the love God keep giving these people microphones so the rest of the nation can see what the Republican Party has become.
 DougJ: Intern Spy vs. Intern Spy
I was initially outraged when I saw that four Republican members of Congress today had asked the House sergeant-at-arms to investigate whether Muslim interns on key national security committee are really infiltrators sent to spy on behalf of Islamic terrorists. But the more we looked into it, the more comically ridiculous the whole thing appears to be.
The members (including Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), who should really know better) base their allegations on a book published by the always reliable WorldNetDaily, titled Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America. The book was based in part on having a co-author's son pretend to be a Muslim (growing the requisite beard for effect) and infiltrate a mainstream Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American Islamic Relations. So the dastardly plot to plant Muslim interns as spies on the Hill was uncovered by an intern acting as a spy.
Justin Elliott lays out the details.
 Speaking of Shadegg . . . 
Yglesias: Rep. Shadegg Warns of “Soviet-Style Gulag Health Care”
Not content with out of control Hitler analogies, Rep John Shadegg (R-AZ) took to the floor yesterday to demonstrate that he’s a fool. Lee Fang has the quotes:
SHADEGG: You know, it occurs to me, and I’ll go through these other scandals very quickly, but what we’re really getting here is we’re not just getting single-payer care. We’re getting full on Russian gulag, Soviet-style gulag health care [...] It appeared in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal. You can Google it. You can pick up the phone and call Kim Strassel. You can ask her about Soviet-style gulag health care in America, where powerful politicians protect their constituents.

Lee reminds us that “The Soviet gulags were a network of prisons and forced labor camps that held as many as 20 million people during Stalin’s reign of terror.” To compare a set of insurance regulations you happen not to favor to Stalin’s mass imprisonment and slaughter is ridiculous, and absurdly insensitive to the real victims.
Massive human rights violations aside, I would also note that health care was among the strong points of the Soviet economy, along with primary and secondary education, armaments, and mass transit.

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