Thursday, April 8, 2010

Myth of the Moderate Republican

Kurtz (TPM): Brother Against Brother
Neo-Confederates disagree over whether Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell's apology is an insult to their, ahem, cause -- or if he, like Lee himself, pushed things as far he could before an honorable surrender. Read our interviews with two members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans here.
Laurie: You Know Who Else Saw Pink Elephants?

If you read between the lines at the ‘Kaplan Daily’, apparently the Republicans are giving up on rational thought altogether and going full-bore “alternative reality”. From an article headlined “Two Republican stars—Palin and Bachmann—align for first time“:

[...] Several thousand people came to a convention center here to see Bachmann and Palin, both of whom have been embraced by “tea party” conservatives for their fiery populism and ability to rile Democrats. Palin also headlined a fundraiser for Bachmann later in the day…

They stepped onto the stage together, and when it was Palin’s turn to take the lectern, she called Bachmann “inspiring.”

Palin has been traveling the country lately in support of GOP candidates, and she delivered a familiar indictment of Obama and Democratic leaders. She also praised Bachmann and other Republican women in Congress, whom she likened to the pink elephant in one 2008 GOP campaign button.

“Someone had better tell Washington that that pink elephant is on the move, and Michele is leading the stampede,” Palin said.


One of Bachmann’s Democratic opponents, State Sen. Tarryl Clark, has raised more than $1 million, a significant total for a challenger this early in the election cycle.

But Bachmann sounds determined. She reminded another audience recently of her 2008 comment that Obama might have “anti-American views,” declaring, “I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views, and now I look like Nostradamus.”

I guess spouting nonsense quatrains that can be interpreted to mean whatever one’s deluded followers want to believe this week is a good enough strategy for the New Grifter wing of the Republican party…

A few months ago, extreme right-wing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) chatted with radical TV preacher Pat Robertson on "The 700 Club." I suggested at the time that the combined crazy quotient was enough to nearly cause a rift in the space-time continuum.

We'll apparently face a similar space-time threat any minute now in Minnesota. Time's Michael Scherer had this report today.

To hear the chatter, this is big, like The Beatles partying with The Rolling Stones, or Prince sharing a stage with Michael Jackson, or Elvis doing a surfer movie with Frank Sinatra. The two alpha women of conservative politics, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, will share the same stage in Minnesota Wednesday for a rally, with a private fundraiser to follow. Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland are setting odds on whether Chris Matthews will implode into a black hole.

The magic of this duo is that it crosses the ideological boundaries that govern our political discussion, exciting both the left and right in equal measure, and therefore perking the attention of the political center, which generally prefers to click links for Tiger Woods paramours and Sandra Bullock divorce rumors.

I guess I should feel bad, then, for forgetting that the event was today.

The truth is, Palin and Bachmann represent the worst American politics has to offer. I can appreciate the fact that the media is excited to have them share a stage, and there will no doubt be a strong turnout of far-right activists -- a reported 10,000 tickets were distributed -- but that doesn't change the fact that these two right-wing politicians are a scary duo of reactionary ignorance, dishonesty, and unhinged conspiracy theories. They'll be joined by Sean Hannity, which only helps prove the point.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), anxious to prove himself sufficiently crazy to the Republican base, will join the hyper-conservatives at the event -- a step the one-time moderate never would have even considered a few years ago.

That today's event will receive considerable attention should be cause for embarrassment among sensible Republicans, not celebration.

The DNC, meanwhile, released a short video today, reminding the public that the stars of today's show really are crazy.

Post Script: The event is apparently intended to help Bachmann's re-election campaign, but it's worth noting that the gathering will take place in Rep. Keith Ellison's (D) district.

Confederate history nothing to celebrate

Maddow - April 7: Melissa Harris-Lacewell, professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, remarks on Virginia governor Bob McDonnell's proclamation of Confederate History Month and the inappropriate romanticization of the Confederacy.

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In one of the most famous campaign commercials of all time, LBJ showed a little girl picking at a daisy, followed by images of nuclear explosion. The point wasn't subtle -- that Goldwater guy could kill us all.

Today, Fox News borrowed a page from the "Daisy" playbook, suggesting a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia could lead to the nuclear annihilation of the United States.

Anchor/activist Megyn Kelly, en route to a commercial break, noted that President Obama is en route to Prague. "[C]ritics are asking, will the new deal leave the U.S. defenseless until it's too late? Coming up, next hour," Kelly said.

At that point, Fox News cut to footage of a nuclear explosion and giant mushroom cloud.

Two quick thoughts here. First, the arms deal with Russia is a pretty big deal, but it's not that big a deal. No sane person could possibly believe that the treaty could "leave the U.S. defenseless." The U.S. will still have a large arsenal, with the capacity to destroy the planet many times over. For Kelly to say this on the air is painfully ridiculous.

And second, how is anyone supposed to do parodies of Fox News when the Republican network airs madness like this with a straight face?

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