Thursday, March 25, 2010

a pop and a fizz

QOTD, Cat Lady

I’m feeling a pop and a fizz in the Dems. They’re starting to realize that it feels good to win. Now, let’s play some offense!

Aravosis: More threats from Teabaggers against members of Congress

This is my favorite quote from the article:

Rep. Jim Moran, a fiery Virginia Democrat, got a visit from tea party activists at his office earlier this week. Aides got between the burly lawmaker and the activists. The activists, according to the congressman, asked whether he needed “bodyguards” to protect him.

“We’re not protecting him from you,” the aides said, according to Moran. “We’re protecting you from him.”

Kurtz (TPM): Taking The High Road

NRCC downplays vandalism at Rep. Tom Perriello's brother's home: The real victims are Perriello's constituents, thanks to health care reform.

Dennis G.: John McCain’s tantrum is noticed…

The latest John McCain temper tantrum has been widely reported and commented upon in the press and the old blog-o-sphere. Today, as noted by Michael Scherer, the latest hissy fit from Sentator “Hey-you-kids-get-of-my-lawn” McCain was the source of a fun exchange at the White House:

Q (Helen Thomas): McCain said he’s going to oppose everything.

MR. GIBBS: Well, yes, I find it curious that not getting your way on one thing means you’ve decided to take your toys and go home. I don’t think—it doesn’t work well for my six-year-old; I doubt it works well in the United States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents and for all of America.

Look, again, when it comes to financial reform people are going to have an opportunity to weigh in on behalf of the banks or on behalf of consumers. And I’ll let their vote on that dictate which side of that ledger they feel most comfortable on.

Q (Chip Reed): Are you comparing McCain to a six-year-old?

MR. GIBBS: I’m saying that I think the notion that if you don’t get what you want you’re not going to cooperate on anything else is not a whole lot different than I might hear from a six-year-old.

Somehow, I am certain that is is good news for Not-President John McCain and the conservatives everywhere.

TPM: Report: Senate Republicans Preparing Second Bunning-Style Showdown

Remember Jim Bunning's one-man government shut down earlier this month? Remember how everyone -- even Republicans -- condemned it?

Well, it seems the GOP has had a change of heart. According to a report by Politico's Manu Raju this morning, multiple Republicans in the Senate are now preparing to repeat Bunning's scheme to block unemployment benefits if Democrats attempt to pass an emergency extension of them again, a move that could come as early as this week.

Playing the role of Bunning next time will likely be Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). But he'll have an ensemble cast to help.


John Cole: Or What?

Who cares:

All Senate Republicans wrote President Barack Obama on Thursday, demanding he not use a recess appointment to fill spots on a labor board.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), joined by all of their Republican colleagues in the Senate, warned the president against using his recess appointment powers to name Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We are writing to urge you to not act in contravention of the bipartisan Senate vote against the nomination of Craig Becker to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) through a recess appointment,” the senators said. “To do so would disregard the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of advice and consent.”

Considering Mean old man John McCain has decided to take his ball and go home already, what is he gonna do (and paid no price in the media, I might add, for his petulance)? Besides, what kind of advice and consent are you offering when you have holds on everyone?

Up or down vote of STFU. I’m seriously to the point that my response to everything the Republicans say is a Friedmanesque “Suck on this.”

  • from the comments:

    West of the Cascades

    52 Senators voted “aye” on cloture – this is a “bipartisan vote against”?? When it’s Lincoln (D – WalMart) and Nelson (D – Mutual of Omaha) voting with the GOP??

    I hope Obama makes about 60 recess appointments over Easter.

Aravosis: WH won't help re-elect Dems who voted against HCR

And that, my friends, is what a President can do to influence legislation on the Hill. A number of naysayers were questioning whether the President of the United States had any power to influence legislation. He is, after all, they argue, the head of a separate but equal branch of government. That means there's little he can do to influence legislation (they claim).

Naive, and untrue.

Senior White House and organized labor officials are warning the handful of House Democrats who supported health care legislation last year only to oppose the final measure on Sunday that they shouldn’t expect assistance for their reelection campaigns this fall.

The five who switched from yes to no — Reps. Michael Arcuri of New York, Marion Berry of Arkansas, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Zack Space of Ohio — have so annoyed top Democrats that there is also open talk of finding opponents to ensure they pay a steep political price for changing their vote.
It might have been nice for the White House to realize this, and/or be willing to exercise this option, before the most conservative health care reform bill in Congress became the law of the land. But putting that aside, let's stop with the talk about how it's all up to Congress. It's not.

Booman: These People Are Effing Crazy

It's hard to exaggerate the size of the gulf between what Democrats are willing to do to stop the Republican agenda and what the Republicans are willing to do to stop the Democratic agenda. I mean, let's leave aside the fact the Republican crazy-talk now has a quarter of registered Republicans wondering whether the president in the antichrist and 57% thinking he's a Muslim. They are using their power in the minority to force the cancellation of committee hearings. This is a form of government shutdown. I saw on the Rachel Maddow Show that the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, had to cancel a hearing with four commanding generals, one of whom had traveled from Hawaii and another from South Korea. Sen. Akaka had to cancel a hearing on wounded veterans and McCaskill had to cancel a subcommittee hearing on police contracting in Afghanistan. The Democrats would never do anything like this.

And, you know, sometimes, like with the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, I wish the Democrats would use all their power to oppose. But I don't want them to act like the Republicans. I don't want the Democrats to shut down the government, lie incessantly, poison the minds of their base against the government, call for special prosecutors every two seconds, or incite violence and intimidation against opposing lawmakers.

The GOP is not a healthy party, and we are not a healthy country.

Maddow: 'With leadership comes responsibility' March 24: Rachel Maddow reviews the historic connection between right wing extremist violence and irresponsible poltical rhetoric and how that relationship is echoed in the current political climate in which Republican politicians use irresponsible metaphors and imagery and incite their party's extremists.

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C&L: Shep Smith Confronts Michael Steele on the GOP's Over the Top Rhetoric

Shepard Smith needs to find a new network to work for since he clearly didn't tow the line with how ClusteFox usually does business in this interview with Michael Steele. I keep wondering when one too many times of doing this sort of thing is going to cost him his job. I didn't catch this when it first aired but I can only take Fox in small doses before wanting to break my TV screen. Thankfully the folks at Media Matters have a stomach for this stuff that I don't.

Smith points out that Boehner called passing the health care bill armageddon for the Democrats and that another Congressman called it a "baby killer". Steele tries to claim that the rhetoric is not a reflection of what the GOP leadership is saying, but just what "average folks out there are saying" about the bill that they're reflecting. When Smith called him out for it Steele attacks Smith personally and says he's toting the "Democrat" talking point.

It's really pitiful that the GOP and their leadership continue to drum up the hatred while refusing to take any responsibility for it. Given the fact that Smith is actually willing to challenge any of these guys when they're spouting their party line B.S. on his show, I'd gladly welcome him to the MSNBC line up to replace Scar in the Morning if MSNBC ever decides that horrid show's ratings are low enough to get rid of it.


It started with racist and anti-gay slurs on Capitol Hill. It led to a Democratic congressman being spat on. Before long, opponents of health care reform were vandalizing lawmakers' offices. Then a gas line was cut at a lawmaker's brother's house. Yesterday, nooses were faxed to Democratic lawmakers. One Democrat received an anonymous voicemail message that said, "You're dead. We know where you live. We'll get you."

If the goal of the Republican base was to send a terrorist-like signal to Congress, officials have heard it.

The pitched battle over health care has unleashed a rash of vandalism and attacks directed at politicians, with at least 10 House Democrats reporting death threats or incidents of harassment or vandalism at their district offices over the past week.

More than 100 House Democrats met behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon with representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police. The lawmakers voiced what one senior aide who was present described as "serious concern" about their security in Washington and in their home districts when they return this weekend for the spring recess.

Usually only the congressional leadership has regular personal protection from the Capitol Police. But at least 10 lawmakers have been offered increased protection by law enforcement agencies, said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

Asked whether members are endangered, Hoyer said: "Yes. [There are] very serious incidents that have occurred."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared on Fox News yesterday and briefly addressed the developments. He initially expressed sympathy for the enraged -- saying "Americans are angry" because "Washington Democrats just aren't listening" -- but added, "[V]iolence and threats are unacceptable. That's not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard -- but let's do it the right way."

The sentiment was welcome, but arguably too weak and too late. Republican leaders, including Boehner, have whipped up the GOP base into a frenzy, pumping so many lies into right-wing activists, incidents like these aren't even that surprising.

What do Republicans expect to happen? They've told confused, misguided activists that health care reform it a "totalitarian" scheme that attacks our "freedom" and represents the "end of America as we know it." The policy breakthrough is, as several GOP leaders have put it, "Armageddon."

It's quite likely that most Republican lawmakers know that their over-the-top rhetoric is just a political gambit, and that their more insane attacks on the new law have no foundation in reality. But therein lies the point: their base doesn't know that Republican officials are lying. When enraged activists are told by leaders they trust that health care reform will destroy America, these activists actually believe the nonsense.

When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele demands that Pelosi get "ready for the firing line," the GOP base gets the message. When Sarah Palin's Facebook page shows 20 gun sights over Democratic lawmakers, some of whom are colored in red, the GOP base gets the message.

And now we're seeing the results of Republicans' irresponsibility.

The most farcical angle to this? The lunatics committing these crimes don't even know what they're so upset about. The things they think they hate about health care reform aren't real. They're lashing out violently to protest a law they don't understand. Ironically, many of these same people and their families stand to benefit as a result of reform.

Republicans have quite deliberately exploited the ignorance and hatred of their own supporters to create a toxic political environment, which in turn leads to the violence we've seen over the last several days. Responsible GOP leaders, if any still exist, must do far more to lower the temperature before conditions take a more tragic turn.

Maddow to Brown: 'Bring what on??' March 24: Rachel Maddow emphasizes to Senator Scott Brown that she is (still) not running against him despite his insistence to the contrary and calls (almost) everyone in Massachusetts personally to inform them of this fact.

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