Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Results of the Research 2000 poll on Republican attitudes is below. A friend posted a link to the results on Facebook, and one comment was: "I'm sorry...I simply don't buy the accuracy of the poll." I have no idea why not. Research 2000 simply asked the questions everyone else is afraid to ask because they seem so ridiculous. Remember, Research 2000 did the "Keep gov't out of my Medicare" poll with the assumption was that must be a joke. R2000 polled it pretty carefully, and found a significant percentage (~60%, if memory serves) of repubs either agreed with "The government should not interfere with Medicare" or weren't sure. This result was later confirmed by other polling organizations after everyone first said "no way." Finally, over 75% of republicans only trust Fox as their source of news (and I would assume Rush and friends), and every one of the themes in the new poll are pushed by Fox. These are the people who select Republican candidates.

Bruce Bartlett: Why I Am Not a Republican
I can only conclude from this new poll of 2003 self-identified Republicans nationwide that between 20% and 50% of the party is either insane or mind-numbingly stupid.
Not Sure
Should Barack Obama be impeached?
Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States?
Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?
Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Barack Obama?
Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates white people?
Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?
Should openly gay men and women be allowed to teach in public schools?
Should contraceptive use be outlawed?
Do you believe the birth control pill is abortion?

Steve Benen:

Yesterday, when Kos started leaking some of these results on Twitter, Greg Sargent noted, "Folks on the left are having fun with these poll numbers allegedly showing Republicans are crazy, but pissing on the GOP base isn't going to solve the Dems' political problems. Sorry."

That strikes me as both fair and accurate. It's very easy to review these stunning results and think, "The Republican Party is dominated by nutjobs." Whether that's true or not will have no bearing on whether those nutjobs elect like-minded candidates to help run the country. (Indeed, in the same poll, 83% of self-identified Republicans said they intend to vote in November.)

That said, the poll results are important for reasons that have nothing to do with their point-and-laugh quotient. Markos noted the practical implications: "Ultimately, these results explain why it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country."

Exactly. When unhinged voters send far-right lawmakers to speak on their behalf, the result is a group of Republican lawmakers who a) are nowhere near the middle; b) disinclined to compromise; and c) have to toe the party line or risk punishment from the base.

I'd also note that Dems might be able to use numbers like these to characterize the GOP as having given up on the American mainstream. If independents and moderate Republicans begin to think that the GOP has fallen off a right-wing cliff, it's at least possible that fewer and fewer Americans will want to have anything to do with the party or its candidates.

Marshall (TPM): Practical Birtherism
Tennessee's lieutenant governor told a conservative group today that he's got his doubts on Obama's citizenship, too, but that birtherism isn't going to win the Republican Party any elections (via Nashville Post).
Sully: McCain: Soul On eBay, Ctd

Ambers notes what the bitter old cynic said in 2006:

The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.

Senator McCain, they just did.

Joint Chiefs expose McCain hypocrisy Feb. 2: Now that the Joint Chiefs chairman and Secretary of Defense have expressed their support for the repeal "Don't ask don't tell," Senator John McCain's earlier promise to respect the opinion of the military leadership on the matter has gone out the window. Rachel Maddow reviews the testimony (and hypocrisy) at Tuesday's Congressional hearing on whether to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

John Cole: The American Taliban
John Cole

Not sure how many of you caught Hardball tonight, but the Family Research Council trotted out Peter Sprigg, another one of their odious spokesbots to rail against the repeal of DADT, and at the end of the piece, this little exchange happened:

Matthews: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg: Well, I think certainly..

Matthews: I’m just asking, should we outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg: I think the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned the sodomy laws in this country was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place in this country for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.

Matthews: So we should outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg: YES!

No dog whistles there. They aren’t even hiding it anymore.

Think Progress: Bachmann Suggests Critics Of Health Care Reform Will Be Put On A ‘List’ And Denied Treatment

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) painted an Orwellian vision of health care reform yesterday, claiming that critics of the Democrats’ plan could be denied coverage. Citing an unnamed Japanese man who supposedly approached her in Washington, Bachmann suggested that critics of the Japanese government are placed on a “list” and prohibited from receiving medical care under Japan’s universal health care system. Saying “a government takeover of health care is the crown jewel of socialism,” Bachmann insinuated a similar situation could occur in “our future”:

BACHMANN:He said that in Japan, to wait and get health care is almost impossible. You get on a list and you wait and you wait and you wait. But he said this is something people don’t know: in Japan, people have stopped voicing their opinion on health care. There are things that are wrong with Japanese health care, but people are afraid of voicing. ‘Well why is that,’ I asked. [He said], ‘Because they know that would get on a list and they wouldn’t get health care. They wouldn’t get in. They wouldn’t get seen. And so people are afraid. They’re afraid to speak back to government. They’re afraid to say anything.’ Is that what we want for our future? That takes us to gangster government at that point!

Watch it (beginning at 0:50):

Other than one individual’s account, Bachmann provides no evidence to support her slur of Japan’s health care system, let alone any evidence to suggest that the same thing would transpire in the U.S. The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Eric Roper “could not find evidence to back up the claim that Japan withholds health care from government critics.” He noted that a recent Washington Post article “describing the pros and cons of the Japanese health system makes no mention of it.”

Japan’s universal system has been able to keep health care costs far lower than those in the U.S., despite an aging population, allowing Japanese to visit a doctor nearly 14 times a year. Bachmann is also wrong when she claims that wait times make it “almost impossible” to receive care in Japan. As ABC News noted, “waiting lists are not a major problem” in Japan, and patients can even “go to a doctor without an appointment, but may have to sit for a long time in the waiting room.”

The Republican National Committee made a similar false accusation last August when it mailed a fundraising appeal that suggested that Democrats might use an overhaul of the health care system to deny medical treatment to Republicans.

More Bachmann staff flee Feb. 2: The press secretary for Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann has announced her departure to work for another member of Congress, the latest of more than a dozen staffers who have fled the service of the often-ridiculed legislator.

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Marshall (TPM): The Big Push Back

The Obama administration and the FBI are making a big push tonight to rebut criticism of trying Abdulmutallab in American courts rather than submitting him to torture and a military tribunal by revealing that he has been cooperating with investigators for days. The claim, which is not that surprising, is that it has been precisely the use of traditional and legal investigative techniques that they've been able to gain his cooperation. Indeed, the intervention of his family, has apparently been key.

"One of the principal reasons why his family came back is because they had complete trust in the US system of justice and believed that Umar Farouq would be treated fairly and appropriately," a "senior official" told ABC. "And that they would be as well."

It's definitely a full court press. Here are the write-ups in the NYT and from ABC.

As much as I find Matthews a shallow lightweight who only understands the optics of politics, this is a pretty good discussion of the optics of politics (in which he gets some actual substance wrong of course) . . .

Obama back to addressing Americans directly Feb. 2: Chris Matthews talks with Rachel Maddow about what appears to be a new strategy by President Obama to take greater care to keep Americans informed about his policies and to point out the dishonest obstinance of Congressional Republicans.

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digby: Spyers And Liars

A new book by Eamon Javers reveals that the CIA allows its operatives to moonlight on Wall Street to supplement their poor incomes. The chatter is that the administration will have to put a stop to it, but I would guess there's no chance of that. After all, these people are so vital that they can't even be held responsible for breaking the law. In fact, we've been told that if anyone even launches an investigation they will just stop protecting Americans and let the terrorists kill us in our beds. What makes anyone think that they will allow the government to dictate how much money they can receive and from whom?

I've drawn the parallel before between that behavior and the behavior of the masters of the universe as they threatened to purposefully take down the entire financial system if they aren't allowed to keep their bonuses. It's an interesting mindset: let me get away with anything I choose or the country gets it. I guess that's why the right reveres them so much --- their patriotism.

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