Thursday, May 6, 2010

"the decaying stench of the Republican corpse"

Sully: The Contemptible "Small Government" Fraud Of The Tea Party

Exhibit A from a WaPo online chat:

Boston, Mass.: Here is my question for the Tea Party. What are your solutions to today's problems? For example, I hear the word socialism used alot and government getting too big. But then what would you cut? Or what would the Tea Party members have done about the financial crisis from 2008? I assume that they would not vote to bailout the banks, but what would they do if the biggest banks in the world go under?

Judson Phillips: First, cut taxes to increase economic growth. That works everytime. Second, let's go through the entire federal budget and eliminate programs that are consumed by waste, fraud or abuse. Start eliminating them.

Seriously? I mean: seriously? We're talking about a debt larger than we've ever contemplated outside of the Second World War and he's talking about eliminating "waste"? And I thought Glenn Reynolds was dishonest ... Of course, we later find out that defense is off the table. But he does mention entitlements, when challenged further:

Judson Phillips: Let's start with entitlement programs. They are the biggest source of out of control spending. Then let's go to congressional pork programs.

Pork is a teensy part of the problem. H does later argue that social security disability checks are the source of the spending problem. Yep: seriously, that's his actual specific recommendation, apart form cutting taxes further. What does he specifically propose for entitlement cuts that come close to the scale of the problem? Nada. Look he's not running for office; he's heading up a protest movement against government spending - and he yet he can't offer any specifics on what he'd cut that would solve the problem. In fact, he barely seems to have thought about the actual fiscal choices before us for a split second.

Taxes? Pure denial of reality:

Washington, D.C.: Judson -- Are you willing to admit that taxes have actually gone down for the vast majority of Americans under President Obama?

Judson Phillips: No

Of course not. And the past has to be airbrushed as well:

Alexandria, Va.: Are you willing to admit that marginal tax rates went up for the majority of Americans during the Reagan administration? Do you know the difference between average and marginal tax rates? Could you answer a simple econ 101 questions regarding the impact of progressive taxation on the labor-leisure choice?

Judson Phillips: No.

If I have contempt for these non-arguments, it is because I retain some smidgen of a belief in honest politics and small government. These people are thoroughgoing frauds - a bunch of right-wing victim-mongers whining about something they have no actual ideas about confronting. They are not something new. They are the decaying stench of the Republican corpse. If they get into power somehow, it will be Weekend At Bernie's for conservatism.

Sully: Epistemic Closure Watch

From the NYT yesterday:

“You cannot really engage in that conversation,” said Phillip Moore, a teacher in this Detroit suburb who has embraced strong opinions on many topics in his life — on politics, education, even religion — but avoids the subject of Israel at gatherings of his Jewish relatives.

“You raise a question about the security forces or the settlements and you are suddenly being compared to a Holocaust denier,” said Mr. Moore, 62. “It’s just not a rational discussion, so I keep quiet.”

I share his pain. But the hysterics are not representative:

In a survey taken after the diplomatic skirmish of March, the American Jewish Committee — the heart of the traditional mainstream — found little change in the level of Jewish support for Mr. Obama’s handling of relations with Israel. The survey found that 55 percent approved of his handling of Israeli relations, compared with 54 percent last year.

Think Progress: Cantor’s GOP re-branding effort ‘suspended’ because of ‘relentless attacks from the left.’
In April 2009, Republican leaders, led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), launched an initiative called the National Council for a New America as a “new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party.” Though Cantor and other Republican leaders promised that the organization would “listen” to the American people, they held only one townhall meeting in a pizza parlor in Arlington, VA before largely going silent. Today, Roll Call reports that the group has officially been put on ice:

Cantor aides explained that the group has been “suspended” one year after its splashy launch in part because of the intense negative attention it received from the Democratic campaign committees and other groups after its introduction.

The NCNA was intended to be a traveling forum of Republican leaders who could engage the public in a broad-ranging discussion of hot-button issues.

Cantor spokesman John Murray said despite 5,000 positive news hits, the “relentless attacks from the left” became overwhelming to the whip office soon after its launch.

“I think now, we are in a suspended state,” Murray said.

Former Cantor deputy chief of staff Rob Collins, who is now president of the American Action Network, claimed to Roll Call that Cantor’s group was hounded out because it “dominated the national media so effectively that liberals in and out of Congress — including [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] — attacked it.” In July 2009, CREW filed an ethics complaint against NCNA for allegedly using official House resources for political purposes. “What we wanted was for them to stop because we thought it violated the rules,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan told Roll Call. “I’m glad they agreed.”

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