Friday, April 9, 2010

"willfully ignorant, juvenile, violent, hateful and reactionary"

Sane conservative Daniel Larison:

As usual, Obama governs in a rather dull, “centrist” fashion where continuity with the Bush years is far more noticeable than any change and he is accused of the worst perfidies of left-wing extremism. Obama’s “centrism” often isn’t a good thing, and with respect to extraordinary executive power grabs, state secrets, indefinite detention, illegal surveillance and the unconstitutional treatment of U.S. citizens (including assassination orders!) Obama has matched or even outdone Bush in illegal excesses, but it doesn’t really make much sense to oppose an administration for doing things one doesn’t actually oppose and attacking it for things that it will never do [...]

One wonders where Republican hawks can possibly go from here. They have almost three more years of an Obama Presidency to endure, and already they have gone mad with alarmism, hysterics and overreaction to fairly ho-hum policy decisions. Obama needs a credible, sane opposition to keep him in check and challenge him when he is actually wrong. Right now, he doesn’t have that, and all of us will suffer for it. His own party will not hold him accountable, because a President’s party never does, but in any contest between an erring Obama and a mad GOP the latter will keep losing.


America is depending on us.

Yeah, I'm curious where all of those "screw-the-Democrats, I'm gonna take my toys and go home" folks from the HCR debate have gone.

Wherever "you" are - If you can read Bachmann's quote and honestly say you still believe that, in the words of Nader, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between electing D's and electing R's, you don't deserve to vote in the first place.

So go ahead, have a tantrum about how Obama isn't enough of a progressive purist to motivate you (because its all about you after all) and stay home this fall. When Bachmann, Gingrich, Palin, King, etc. set up factory towns and work-houses, eliminate food and product safety regulations, strip mine the entire country, and start WW III, I know how proud you'll be of your righteous stance.

No matter how much you have to hold your nose, the stakes are astounding: anyone who isn't batshit crazy has to show up and vote Democratic. anything else makes you complicit. if it is reduced to tribalism on their side and we don't close ranks, they win, win big, win every time. Triablism sucks, but its the fight we're in right now and unless and until we win it, we wont have a chance to change to a different paradigm.

the fact that Bachmann is easily leading for re-election in an educated, midwestern state, and that Republicans who are equally crazy are leading all over the place suggests it is more than just whacked out politicians. sadly, it suggests that as a people we have become willfully ignorant, juvenile, violent, hateful and reactionary.

we've apparently decided that Mad Max was a utopian, rather than the intended dystopian, fantasy.

Sully: Yglesias Award Nominee

"As much as I am in favor of reducing the size and cost of the state (and doing so sharpish), the current mess is not going to be sorted out without some increase in tax receipts — and, no, economic recovery will not by itself be enough quickly enough to do the trick. If we have to increase taxes, that is better achieved by a broad-based tax than heaping yet more levies on individual income," - Andrew Stuttaford, another sane conservative at NRO, with an open mind on the VAT.

One thing occurs to me as I see, for example, where Fareed Zakaria, David Frum, Andrew Stuttaford and myself have migrated in recent years. We were all Thatcherite/Reaganite conservatives of varying stripes in the 1980s. And we all feel, to varying degrees, uncomfortable in modern American conservatism.

What else do we have in common? None of us was born here.

There is something deeply and profoundly American about the current right, its conspiracy theories, its paranoia, its racial issues, its sexual panic, its fundamentalist timbre. Conservatives not from the South or imbued in the cultural legacy of the twentieth century - i.e. those who mistook Buckley for the forces he successfully challenged - remain on a learning curve wit respect to the some core, and especially Southern, factions on the American right.

It is far darker and stranger than many of us ever truly grasped. And it took us a while to realize it.
Sully: An Insight Into The Right

It comes from Family Feud, and a contestant is asked to say things that apply to Ellen Degeneres. Gay? Yes. Funny? Yes. Married to Portia? Yes. Then the father says that "she doesn't like her country very well."

Ellen? Cheery, inoffensive, humorous. Idol-mainstream, all-American, beloved chat show icon, Ellen?

Translation: she's a lesbian and all homosexuals are anti-American.

Sometimes the real view comes seeping out into plain view. On national television. That guy voted for Palin. You know it.


I appreciate the role a nuclear arsenal can play in serving as a deterrent against adversaries. But Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota may not appreciate the notion of a proportionate response.

"If in fact there is a nation who is compliant with all of the rules ahead of time and they've complied with the United Nations on nuclear proliferation, if they fire against the United States a biological weapon, a chemical weapon or maybe a cyber attack, well then we aren't going to be firing back with nuclear weapons," Bachmann said. "Doesn't that make us all feel safe?"

"No!" shouted the crowd of thousands in Minneapolis.

There are obviously a lot of errors of fact and judgment in that quote, but that "maybe a cyber attack" is the part that stands out.

To be sure, attacks on a country's computer networks can be severely damaging. But even Bachmann, as confused as she is, has to realize that responding to a cyber attack with a nuclear bomb would be the most insane act in the history of humanity. Does she understand what a nuclear bomb does?

So to answer Bachmann's question, no, the United States will not use a nuclear arsenal to respond to a cyber attack. That doesn't mean we'd welcome a cyber attack; it doesn't mean we'd let a cyber attack slide; it doesn't mean our conventional weapons couldn't serve as a sufficient deterrent.

The right really is getting worse.

  • Atrios on Blood Lust
    One thing I've never quite figured out about the wingnut brain is whether their readiness to kill tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent people with nukes is because they see the nukes as a giant external penis or if they just have psychotic death cult psychology and like the idea of lots of people dying.

Slajda (TPM): Stewart Blasts Fox's Coverage Of Nuke Treaty: Throw Off Your 'Fact Shackles' (VIDEO)

Last night, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart attacked Fox News and Sarah Palin for ignoring the facts about President Obama's nuclear treaty with Russia.

Stewart reminded them that President Reagan had also called for a one-third reduction in nuclear arms, and spoke of a world without nukes.

He also wondered why Megyn Kelly's head exploded.


Steve Benen adds:

It's worth emphasizing the fact that Fox News personalities got just about every aspect of this story wrong. And by "wrong," I'm not just referring to areas of judgment and consistency; I mean they told viewers things that aren't true, making claims with no foundation in reality.

Jon Stewart referred to the network's "willful misunderstanding of the policy," and characterized a back-and-forth between Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity as "purposeful idiocy."

Stewart added, "We're at the point now that the by far number one ranked news network in this country, no longer feels the need to report what a policy document says in black and white."

Aravosis: Gingrich vows to shut down government for two years if GOP retakes Congress, will repeal 'virtually everything' Obama has done

Virtually everything?

Ban on pre-existing conditions.
Adding kids to parents' health insurance.
Affordable student loans.
Equal pay.


And shutting down the government worked so well in the 1990s when Gingrich shut down the government, and it blew up in his face. How many normal Americans really want to shut down the EPA for two years? This is insane. Dems need ads on TV right now showing Gingrich talking about shutting down the EPA for two years. So much for safe drinking water. Would you like some botulism with your hamburger little boy?

Here’s my promise: … When we win control of the House and Senate this fall, Stage One of the end of Obamaism will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund any of the radical efforts. […]

Once upon a time, I used to be Speaker of the House and I actually understand the legislative process. And the truth is, under our Constitution, the Congress doesn’t have to pass the money. If EPA gets not budget, it can’t enforce cap-and-trade. […]

So Stage One of Obamaism being gone is to simply win this fall and not fund it for two years. Stage Two is…to ensure Obama joins Jimmy Carter in the tradition of one-party presidents (sic). And, that in that context, that we be prepared to commit that a Republican President and a Republican Congress in February and March of 2013 will repeal every radical bill passed by this machine.
JedL (dKOS): Teabaggers of the world: Newt is lying to you

Here's one thing Newt Gingrich didn't mention in his speech last night pledging that Republicans would stop "Obamaism" by shutting down the Federal government if they win this fall's election: they will never do it -- and they know it.

The proof of this is not merely that the GOP, led by then-Speaker Gingrich, tried and failed the same strategy in 1995. (As Gingrich himself said, "our strategy failed.")

Moreover, if Gingrich were serious, the GOP would be shutting down the Federal government now. Whether or not we like it, the fact remains that Republicans in the Senate could filibuster appropriations bills today. They don't need to win the fall elections to stop appropriations bills. Yet they are not following Gingrich's strategy because they know -- as Gingrich proved in 1995 -- that it is political suicide.

And the final clincher is this: the GOP's number one beef with the Obama administration is health insurance reform...but Republicans couldn't block health insurance subsidies through the appropriations process even if they were willing to try. The subsidies are actually tax credits -- they are not appropriated on an annual basis. If they want to get rid of them, they will have to repeal them.

I suppose if the GOP were to essentially dismantle the Federal government, stopping the Social Security Administration from sending out checks and blocking Medicare from paying claims that they could also stop the subsidies. But if you believe the GOP will actually go that far, I've got a state in Bob McDonnell's Confederacy to sell you.

Newt's pledge may sound good to the teabagging Republicans. But they should also know this: They. Will. Never. Do. It. Didn't do it in 1995. Won't do it in 2011.

Krugman: Fiscal Fantasies

David Frum is startled by Larry Kudlow’s ignorance about the federal budget; Kudlow imagines that a pay cut for federal employees could have a huge impact on the deficit, when in fact it would be trivial.

Two things: it should have been obvious on general principles that Kudlow was talking nonsense. The basic picture of the federal government you should have in mind is that it’s essentially a huge insurance company with an army; Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — all of which spend the great bulk of their funds on making payments, not on administration — plus defense are the big items. Salaries aren’t.

But the Kudlow picture is nonetheless a key part of conservative imagery; the idea of vast rooms full of government employees doing nothing productive is central to their vision of painless spending cuts. The fact that it’s not remotely true is irrelevant; they want it to be true, and that’s enough.

Neal Boortz, a far-right radio host, argued today, "If Obama is hurting your business, and you have to lay off someone, why not lay off an Obama voter? They contributed to your problem." Boortz added, "Why should you have to provide a livelihood to someone actively working to destroy your business?"

Now, as a matter of reality, the notion that President Obama might be hurting businesses is quite foolish. It was, after all, the president's policies that rescued the economy and generated growth and job creation. I don't know what Boortz is whining about.

But it's this notion that conservative employers should fire Democratic employees that seems insane -- and illegal. That it may actually be happening is especially disconcerting.

Last Friday, someone going by the name "dermdoc" posted a thread on a message board for Texas A&M students and alumni with this topic: "Laid off my first Obama voting employee today."

"Our reimbursement rates are spiraling downward, taxes are projected to go up with Obamacare, so I did it," the person wrote. He later added: "I made this decision because I can."

"It is kind of interesting watching their face as you explain to them the economic consequences of the policies of the guy they voted for," wrote dermdoc. [...]

"Elections have consequences," wrote dermdoc. "If you vote for someone who raises my taxes and lowers my income, you pay the cost."

Obviously, as a substantive matter, this doesn't make any sense. As a legal matter, it's a crime to fire an employee based on how he or she voted.

But there's also the larger context to consider -- in 2010, we're reaching a point in which a right-wing doctor doesn't want to treat Democratic patients, and right-wing employer doesn't want to keep Democratic workers on the payroll.

The Republican culture is taking on a vaguely repressive, totalitarian worldview.

John Cole: Don’t Want. Don’t Like. Don’t Need.

Taylor Marsh, still not understanding politics:

Lefties get infuriated when I parse the traditional and new media spin against Sarah Palin. I can hear the caterwauling already, but don’t care much about it, as I’m more interested in following the story, not the negative Hillaryesque stereotyping, the latest of which comes compliments of the latest CBS poll, which I’ll get to in a minute.

The fact remains that there is a “Hillary hole,” with women wanting their turn, while people hunger for something radically different, which is currently being filled by the Tea Party, a star named Sarah and her fans. Not surprisingly, as poll after poll on her rolls out, the narrative on Sarah Palin continues to be filled out unfairly. I know, you’re shocked. But love her or hate her, whether she runs in 2012 or not, when you look at the left, the reality is there’s no anti-Palin progressive who matches what Palin’s got.

Yeah, Taylor. It’s a real shame that there is no lefty Sarah Palin, because what the party could really use is a know-nothing empty suit who is wildly unpopular with the majority of Americans, extremely divisive to the folks you need to reach out to, completely unversed in anything regarding policy, and leading the party into a ditch. It really sucks there is no left-wing Palin.

That ain’t star power you’re seeing- it’s starbursts, and Rich Lowry is going to get jealous if you go after his woman.

Sargent: Inside Palin’s Speechwriting Process

At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference just now, Sarah Palin ripped Obama’s foreign policy in terms strikingly similar to Liz Cheney’s speech yesterday. Money quote:

“In foreign policy now we’ve got the makings of the Obama doctrine, which is coddling enemies and alienating allies.”

That’s not surprising. More interesting is where this rhetoric comes from.

Here’s the deal on that: Palin’s speeches are collaborative efforts. A speech like this one has heavy input from her foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, who cut a high profile on the McCain campaign for his particularly sharp attacks on Obama. It also would have been shaped by Lindsay Hayes, Palin’s speechwriter, who also wrote her speeches during Campaign 2008 and has been described by Palin as “quiet” and “levelheaded.”

Drafts of Palin’s speeches get kicked around a bunch, with input from the ‘Cuda herself. They’re often being revised up until delivery.

The two women appear to have fixed on roughly the same formulation on their own — that the Obama doctrine is best described as “coddling enemies and alienating allies.” This underscores the degree to which this is the emerging consensus on the right, at least as articulated by Palin and Ms. Cheney, two of the GOP’s leading foreign policy voices right now.

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