GOP

A Quote: Benen on McCain on the American Czars

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

msnbc“There’s more than one angle to this story. The first is the obvious hypocrisy of Republicans who desperately want the president to have fewer czars, except when they want him to have more. There’s also the fact that a U.S. Surgeon General could certainly play a key leadership role at a moment like this, but a wide variety of senators, including McCain, are blocking a qualified nominee.”

Steve Benen

An Update: GOP Shutdown Fever

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Think of it this way: The political party that insists government doesn’t work is also the group constantly threatening to shut down the government as if they’re trying to prove their thesis by forcing it to come true.

That is to say, if the government doesn’t break, Republicans will work tirelessly to correct that failure to fail.

We heard some talk about the Continuing Resolution, but the White House and Congress hammered out an agreement to keep the doors open, the lights on, and the war going … until December 11.

As such, Steve Benen’s summary of emerging shutdown news ought not come as any surprise:

Republican leaders in both chambers agreed months ago that a pre-election government shutdown simply wasn’t an option. There were some on the far right who tried to fan some flames, but it never spread.

Republicans did not, however, rule out a post-election shutdown. Aliyah Frumin reported earlier:

A group of Republican senators – led by Marco Rubio of Florida – sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and are calling on him to oppose any spending legislation for a program that’s part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act – a move that could potentially result in a government shutdown. […]

If the House refuses to allow the provision into the spending bill – which would be vehemently opposed by the White House – a stalemate and government shutdown could occur. To avoid a shutdown, lawmakers will have to pass new spending legislation in the lame duck session before Dec. 11, which is when the current continuing budget resolution expires.

The fact that this is happening yet again is obviously tiresome. It was just two months ago that far-right congressional Republicans were making threats about a new shutdown – not to be confused with the previous GOP shutdown – and for Rubio and his allies to start making a new round of threats is unfortunate.

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The Journalistic Effort to Draft Mitt

The media effort to draft Mitt Romney for a third presidential campaign continues, with Steve Holland of Reuters undertaking the latest effort to argue that the former Massachusetts governor will run because, well, we just can’t believe the words coming out of his mouth:

Romney associates say he is flattered by the attention and believes he would have done a better job if he had defeated the Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama in 2012 when he was the Republican nominee.

ReutersBut Romney typically insists in public that he is not going to run for a third time after losses in 2008 and 2012.

“I’m not running and I’m not planning on running. I’ve got nothing to add to that story,” he told supporters during a stop this week at Atlanta’s Varsity restaurant, where he had a hot dog and onion rings, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Still, friends and former aides say, he could seek the nomination if a series of events plays out in his favor, chiefly that no single powerhouse emerges from what is expected to be a crowded field of Republicans vying for the party’s nod.

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Another Quote: Klein on Poli Sci

V-V-V-V-Vox!

“American politics is changing. Politicians are losing power and political parties are gaining it. A politician’s relationships might once have been a good guide to her votes. Today, the “D” or “R” after a politician’s name tells you almost everything you need to know.”

Ezra Klein

To the one, he has a point. To the other, it does not seem to matter much, as the applied political science still seems more aimed toward deceiving than understanding. Nor is that intended as a condemnation of political science as a discipline, but if we bear in mind that electoral politics is an industry ripe for plunder, we might pause to wonder what business would employ a rising social science to its own detriment.

And the answer to that is clear: None.

Well, sort of. Because then there are Republicans; the conventional wisdom in this exceptional case—that they are not hurting themselves on purpose, but, rather, are simply unable to not—seems pretty safe rather quite demonstrable.

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America’s Wang: The Curt Clawson Saga (continued)

Detail of 1921 map of Florida, including Fort Myers and Lee County, in Florida's Nineteenth Congressional District.

Detail: Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., carries a Bible for as ceremonial swearing-in with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.  (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)Okay … so … right. Following up on an earlier item, Rep. Curt Clawson (R), the second-string backbencher from Florida’s Nineteenth, apparently figured out that he might have committed something of a teensy gaffe. One only wonders how many staffers and colleagues needed to try before the errant congressman clued in.

But Clawson is a clown straight out of a Silverstein poem. Or, as Steve Benen notes:

The dust has obviously settled and Clawson eventually did the only thing he could do.

Clawson won a special election last month to replace Trey Radel, who resigned following a cocaine bust. The political novice, who was a businessman and college basketball player before running for office, apologized in a statement sent to our Gannett colleague, Ledyard King.

“I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball,” Clawson said.

This might have been a more straightforward apology without the “being fully briefed” comment – the congressman really shouldn’t blame his staff for this one – but the apology otherwise gets the job done.

It is ironic nearly to the point of silly. Then again, Clawson is the Tea Party understudy to the guy who managed to get chased out of Congress for cocaine. Still, though, we might set aside the superficial aspect of Benen’s critique. Everybody on the Hill blames their staffers for not being able to read their minds and know what idiotically simple and obvious things the politician needs to be told. If we wish to be superficial, we might also remind that it’s a bit more than an “air ball”. But think about it for a moment. This singular collapse of awareness and competence is such that Clawson did not even bother trying the non-apology. And, yet … (more…)

America’s Wang: Rep. Curt Clawson (R) and the Good People of Florida’s Nineteenth Congressional District

O! smarmy one!

“It’s extremely uncommon for foreign officials to testify before Congress under oath. Even so, it’s unclear if at any point Clawson realized his mistake, despite the existence of a witness list distributed to the various members detailing Biswal and Kumar’s positions. Clawson’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

“During the hearing, he repeatedly touted his deep knowledge of the Indian subcontinent and his favorite Bollywood movies. None of his fellow colleagues publicly called him out on the oversight—perhaps going easy on him because he’s the new guy.”

John Hudson

Until last week, if you had heard of Rep. Curt Clawson (R), the congressman from Florida’s Nineteenth Congressional District, it probably would have been because he was the second string, the backup, the special election favorite to replace fallen Tea Party angel Trey Radel.

That was then. John Hudson of Foreign Policy explains what boosted the Bonita Springs backbencher’s profile:

In an intensely awkward congressional hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, freshman Rep. Curt Clawson misidentified two senior U.S. government officials as representatives of the Indian government.

The two officials, Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, are Americans who hold senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively. Although both Biswal and Kumar were introduced as U.S. officials by the chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, Clawson repeatedly asked them questions about “your country” and “your government,” in reference to the state of India.

“I’m familiar with your country; I love your country,” the Florida Republican said. “Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I’m willing and enthusiastic about doing so.”

Apparently confused by their Indian surnames and skin color, Clawson also asked if “their” government could loosen restrictions on U.S. capital investments in India.

Yes. Really. And what really hurts is that we all know it doesn’t end there.

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The Temptation of Saint Ronald Magnus

To the one, it’s hard to figure how Republicans could be any more disrespectful to a dead president. To the other, they’re Republicans. Steve Benen of msnbc explains:

Saint Ronald MagnusThis over-the-top Reagan worship isn’t just wrong; it’s ironic. In 1983, some of the prominent conservative media voices of the day actually complained bitterly that Reagan’s response was wholly inadequate.

George Will – yes, that George Will – called the Reagan White House’s arguments “pathetic” at the time, insisting, “It’s time for [Reagan] to act.”

The president responded publicly with rhetoric that made the president sound rather helpless. “Short of going to war, what would they have us do?” Reagan said. “I know that some of our critics have sounded off that somehow we haven’t exacted enough vengeance. Well, vengeance isn’t the name of the game in this.”

You know, just something to keep in mind as you hear our conservative neighbors regaling the myths of Saint Ronald Magnus when history just isn’t good enough.

I mean, the guy’s dead. Come on. Then again, there really isn’t any guarantee that the late president would have had any clue what people were droning on about. Still, though, lying about a dead man? I suppose that’s something to remember, as well, when conservatives preach about “values”.

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Benen, Steve. “Sometimes, ‘What Would Reagan Do?’ is the wrong question”. msnbc. July 21, 2014.

Your Republican Party (Crankin’ Out the Votes Edition)

The eyes of a paraphiliac.

At first it sounds like a joke.Crankin' with the Cross!

Jordan D. Haskins, candidate for Michigan Legislature, wants everyone to know conservatives embrace imperfect people, too. So let him explain his multiple felony convictions for breaking into government vehicles, disconnecting the sparkplugs, and jerking off while the engines cranked.

Weinstein

But it’s not:

Haskins’ break-ins were often tied to an arguably bizarre sexual fetish called “cranking.” When he broke into vehicles, Haskins would disconnect the ignition wires and re-start the engine while masturbating, police reports show. In an unrelated report by The Independent, Susan Block, Ph.D., a featured sexologist on HBO’s “Real Sex” and “Cathouse” explained the fetish by saying, “[t]he ‘vroom’ of the engine reminds [men] of their own libidos being revved up by this hot woman.”

Haskins says he hopes voters can see he’s evolved. “Those are things that haunt me to this day,” Haskins told MLive. “I’m just trying to move on from that and do what I can.”

Thomas

Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican Party.

It should also be noted that if we take Mr. Haskins at his word, he cured his paraphilia by finding a new passion, conservative politics.

Yes, really. Write your own damn punch line.

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Weinstein, Adam. “GOP Hopeful: My Public Masturbation Fetish and Felonies Were Bad Ideas”. Gawker. 27 June 2014.

Thomas, Emily. “GOP Candidate Jordan Haskins Wants Voters To Forgive His Criminal And Sexual Fetish Past”. The Huffington Post. 27 June 2014.

Beyond Silly

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Steve Benen brings a setup certain to evoke an exasperated groan:

Former Sen. Bill Frist’s tenure as Senate Majority Leader is perhaps best known for an unfortunate misstep. In 2005, the Tennessee Republican weighed in on the controversy surrounding Terri Schiavo, declaring that he, as a heart surgeon, could make a reliable medical diagnosis about the brain-damaged woman by watching a brief video filmed by the patient’s family.

Yeah, we know. The punch line for that will suck regardless of what it actually says:

Coburn talked to CNN’s Dana Bash late yesterday, telling her that he’s convinced that Bergdahl “had been drugged … either with an anti-psychotic or hypnotic drug.” The Oklahoma Republican said his diagnosis is “obviously” true and was “easy” to make.

Coburn added that it’s “not at all” possible that Bergdahl was sick. The released prisoner’s “physical health,” the senator told Bash, “is fine.”

Just to drive the point home, the far-right Oklahoman, an obstetrician gynecologist by trade, went on to argue, “I’m speaking as a doctor, yeah.”

It seems the sort of plot twist that is also a bit of an extraneous twist of the knife. A prisoner of war has been released, and the president’s opponents will say all manner of ridiculous things, including the proposition that Sgt. Bergdahl ought to be convicted without trial in order to justify criticisms of securing his release. It was one thing when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) undertook his usual acrobatics and contortions, but what happened next really was rather undignified.

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A Brief Update: I Was Wrong

GOPUSA logoWell, of course I was wrong. There are reasons why I am not much for betting, especially when betting against human frailty.

Doug Patton, former conservative speechwriter and current senior hack for GOPUSA* rushes faithfully to RNC Chairman Priebus’ side as Republicans look to pick a new fight with Planned Parenthood:

From Margaret Sanger to Barack Obama, this is the world the left has created for us. It is a twisted, amoral utopia, where right is wrong and wrong is right, where good is evil and evil is good, where fully born babies can be murdered in abortion mills.

If Priebus’ tantrum depended solely on epistemically closed inference, Patton’s apoplexy is perhaps described as entirely reliant on his own twisted fantasies. If nothing more, Patton gives us a scary glimpse at his own outlook.

To the other though, he’s also the kind of partisan hack who believes Supreme Court Justices owe fealty to the political party that nominated them.

So, no, nobody so unfortunate to actually have made the mistake of paying attention to Mr. Patton is suprised to see this latest hit piece.
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* A right-wing activist operation perhaps most famous for being part of Talon News, which in turn is most [in]famous for the sordid tale of “Jeff Gannon”, a gay male prostitute hired to softball President Bush at press conferences.