Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I see crazy people

QOTD: DAY, on the GOP' "America Speaking Out" project:
Simpler GOP version:

"We value your opinion. Please write it on the back of a twenty dollar bill, and send it in."
In which the inevitable and incorrigible DougJ engages in a Post chat, and fails to draw the reporter into the crazy world of Randie ...
DougJ: A rare Kaplan victory for me

Though the answers aren’t particularly exciting:

Louisville, KY: I’m writing as a supporter of Rand Paul, whom the Post has treated unfairly. You say that his position on 40 year-old settled law is important. I say that he is the only candidate looking towards the future where we are forced to accept the single North American currency called “the amero” (go on YouTube and search for Vincete Fox amero if you don’t believe me).

Why aren’t we hearing more about this instead of about hypotheticals and bygones?

Perry Bacon Jr.: Hypotheticals matter; campaigns are about what you will do as much as what you have done, particularly for someone who has never held office before. I think his views on the Civil Rights act are important, in part because they might give a clue to his votes on the minimum wage and other such things.


Lexington, KY: Rand Paul may not be the smoothest talker, he may not answer the questions the way you want him to, to quote Sarah Palin. But who else has the guts to take on the NAFTA superhighway? Who else will put us back on the gold standard where we belong? Aren’t these more important issues?

Perry Bacon Jr.: I think he is pretty good talker. I”m agree to hear him defend his views on the big issues, repealing the health care bill, raising the retirement age, etc.

DougJ: Immigration politics

No one could have predicted (via Ben Smith, whose insane Drudgite readers followed the link to the comments, I see):

When we polled Colorado in early March Michael Bennet and Jane Norton were tied. Last week we found Bennet with a 3 point lead. One of the biggest reasons for that shift? Bennet went from leading Norton by 12 points with Hispanic voters to a 21 point advantage. That large shift in a Democratic direction among Hispanics mirrors what we saw in our Arizona Senate polling last month- Rodney Glassman went from trailing John McCain by 17 points with them in September to now holding a 17 point lead.

But Chris Matthews’ cranky uncle likes the law, polls show a majority of Americans support it, never underestimate white backlash, blah blah blah.

This thing is a goldmine for western Democrats.

  • from the comments:

    Boots Day

    It’s very popular among people who were already going to vote Republican, which means it doesn’t make any difference to the GOP in the long run. Among people for whom this is such a big deal that it makes them want to change their vote, it’s hugely unpopular.

This is wrong on so many levels it makes my eyes bleed. First, dems go on Faux all the time, where they are confronted with contrived questions designed to push a narrative that is often false for the purposes of riling up the republican/conservative base. Repubs rarely go on any news show that actually presses them on the issues, almost never on a show like Maddow's where their ideas are actually and thoughtfully examined.

Sully: "Why Rand Paul Matters"

A reader writes:

While I think that Rand Paul was smart to take a step back from the national microphones and skip this week's "Meet the Press," I think his decision highlights a larger problem: politicians on the right will not venture beyond the safe confines of Fox News. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough rhetorically asked this question on his show on Friday: "What the hell was Rand Paul doing on MSNBC?" That says it all. As you have chronicled much on your blog about the separation between red and blue states, this is just another nail in the coffin of debate in this country. When the right and left of this country will not share the same TV shows to discuss or debate the issues facing our country, we all lose.

mistermix: Can This Clown Win?

Ladies and Gentlemen, your new Connecticut Republican candidate for Senate, Linda McMahon, wife of Vince McMahon and CEO of WWE:

  • Involved in multiple steroid scandals.

  • Delivered a “low blow” to a commentator on TV as part of his firing.

  • Part of an organization that condones “simulated rape, public sex and necrophilia”.

Here’s what one of her former employees says about her:

She may look like a Sunday school teacher. Linda McMahon’s hands are as bloody as her husband’s because she is aware of every move in the ring. She has had no problem with grown men – myself included – cutting their head with a razor blade. All of a sudden, why aren’t these guys bleeding anymore? Because Linda is running for the Senate.

That’s just from her Wikipedia entry. Compared to this woman’s caravan of crazy, Dick Blumenthal’s Vietnam fudging is about as politically interesting as a county commissioner using the wrong fork at dinner.

No matter what generic Congressional ballot polling says (and it’s not looking that bad), candidates win elections. And, man, do the Republicans have some shit candidates.

Update: I love that we’re wall-to-wall Linda ads as soon as I post this. “Ready for Something Different” indeed.


One of the main downsides to a national controversy over the beliefs of a high-profile candidate: other candidates start fielding questions about their takes on the matter.

Last week, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul articulated his opposition to the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as part of his larger extremist ideology. But given the controversy it generated, it was only a matter of time before Republicans elsewhere started feeling the heat, too.

In Nevada, Sue Lowden, the controversial GOP Senate hopeful, spoke to Politico yesterday, and refused initially to talk about her health care views. When the discussion turned to Paul, she refused to talk about that, too.

At the end of the interview, Lowden declined to discuss whether she shared Paul's views on the Civil Rights Act.

"You can't resist this, can you? I have no idea what another candidate says," Lowden said.

Asked whether she had any concerns about the law's reach into private business, Lowden said, "I'm going, thank you," then abruptly hung up the phone.

In Kentucky, Republican congressional candidate Andy Barr was less rude, but no more forthcoming when asked whether he agrees with Paul's worldview.

"Well, we'll, we'll, we'll certainly answer those questions later on."

At that point, Barr walked away, rather than continue the discussion.

A couple of things to consider moving forward. First, these questions are likely to continue. Republican campaigns would probably be wise to come up with a stock answer to the inquiries.

Second, coming up with that answer should be pretty easy. For crying out loud, we're talking about the Civil Rights Act and the ADA. I realize the Republican Party has shifted aggressively to the hard-right, but in the 21st century, even in contemporary GOP politics, there's nothing wrong with a Republican candidate endorsing some of the bedrock legislation of modern America.

"I support the Civil Rights Act of 1964." How hard is that to say?

DougJ: Gibbons’ decline and fall

Living in New York, I’m generally not impressed with other states’ political shenanigans, but what’s going on in Nevada right now is pretty special. You’ve got a sitting governor, Jim Gibbons, who: (1) is being sued by a Vegas cocktail waitress for sexual assault, (2) publicly claimed to have not had sex for fifteen years after being spotted consoling a Playboy model, (3) was caught repeatedly lying about a trip to Washington with his alleged mistress, (4) was recently investigated by the FBI for 18 months (though eventually cleared of wrong doing).

And then you’ve got Republican Senate primary where the chicken-for-checkups advocate Sue Lowden is regarded as the more sane of two leading candidates:

And as part of this effort, (Senate candidate Sharron) Angle reportedly wants to go to the Senate to fight to privatize Social Security; build nuclear power plants inside Yucca Mountain; eliminate the federal income tax; pull the country out of the United Nations; and allow unlimited campaign contributions. She’s also a hard-right culture warrior, backing the far-right line on immigration and supporting bans on nearly all abortions.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, a conservative paper, conducted a survey that identified Angle as the Nevada Assembly’s “Worst Member.” Twice.

Angle and Lowden are neck-and-neck. Gibbons, unfortunately, is well behind in the polls.

Update. And, yes, I forgot about John Ensign.

DougJ: Fragrant candles

Colbert is going to have a great time with this:

“Largely decorated by Limbaugh himself, [his Palm Beach house] reflects the things and places he has seen and admired. A massive chandelier in the dining room, for example, is a replica of the one that hung in the lobby of New York’s Plaza Hotel. The vast salon is meant to suggest Versailles. The main guest suite, which I didn’t visit, is an exact replica of the Presidential Suite at the Hotel George V in Paris. There is a full suit of armor on display, as well as a life-size oil painting of El Rushbo. Fragrant candles burned throughout the house, a daily home-from-the-wars ritual.”

Sixteen years ago, House Republicans put together the "Contract With America" based on polls and focus groups. This year, House GOP leaders are launching the "America Speaking Out" project, in the hopes of crafting a new "contract" based on public feedback and interactive social media.

The biggest difference, however, is that this time, American taxpayers are being asked to finance the partisan initiative.

Republican officials will kick off the project with an event in D.C. this morning, and it's been described, accurately, as an initiative intended to help the GOP craft "a set of policy items that Republicans would pursue if they won back control of the House in November."

When asked about this yesterday, GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) was vague about financing. "'America Speaking Out' is not a project of the political" campaign arm, Pence said, reluctant to go into further detail.

Now we know why. Republicans are claiming that the project will be kept separate from their campaign committees, and can therefore be financed by taxpayers.

Congressional scholar Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said it is not credible to say the agenda is not intended for the 2010 campaign cycle.

"Its only purpose is as a campaign document," Mann said in an e-mail. "They are in no position to shape policy before the election. It is a defensive move, to deal with the criticism that they are the party of 'no.'"

But Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, said Republicans have to maintain that the document is not meant for the campaign trail, even if it is only a charade. "If they don't, they are in danger of using taxpayer funds for campaign purposes," she said.

But given what Republicans have already stated publicly, the notion that the "America Speaking Out" project isn't intended for the midterm elections is ridiculous.

This isn't even thinly veiled -- the partisan, campaign-related function is as plain as day.

House Republicans will unveil on Tuesday a Web site they will use to solicit policy ideas from the public, the first step in the development of a platform that they will present to voters this fall. [...]

The Web site formally starts the GOP's process of touting its own vision and policies to voters, after spending most of the last 16 months bashing President Obama and congressional Democrats.

And Republicans, aware that some of the anti-Washington fervor among the public is aimed at both parties, don't want to simply put out a formal agenda without buy-in from voters, particularly conservatives. So, along with the site, House Republicans will hold town hall meetings around the country starting next week. They want to use this process to get ideas for the "Contract With America"-style policy document they are set to release closer to the election, which would list principles and proposals that Republicans would adopt if they won control of the House.

Keep in mind just how transparently silly the argument is. Republicans will argue that all of this -- the website, the social media, the town-hall events, and the document to be released in September -- has nothing to do with the party's campaign efforts in the fall. They have to maintain this fiction with a straight face, in order to justify use of our money to pay for the effort.

This probably isn't the ideal way for the GOP to prove it can be trusted to spend the public's money wisely.

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