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What a week (or two…or nine…)!! Republicans feed the crazy, Obama accepts reality, solar goes big (in the Middle East)…a guy asks his friend to shoot him in the leg so he “can feel what its like to be shot”…Ahhh, the sweet, gorgeous insanity of politics (and whatnot) rages on.
A lot to catch up on…and its not slowing down. Where to begin? Here’s the good, the bad, the ugly (in no particular order):
- Worst-kept secret: In case you thought that republican members of congress were not putting the interests of big oil companies ahead of the country, a senior staffer to Senator Jim Inhofe (r-Jerktown), sent the following email message out to two dozen oil and gas industry lobbyists: “Moving forward, we—your partners—would kindly ask for better coordination and communication from you to prevent the Obama administration from pulling similar stunts (collaborating with industry on regulations) in the future.” Yes, that’s right…”your partners.” Republican congressmen and oil and gas lobbyists are “partners” and need to coordinate their strategy to fight against government regulations protecting our health and safety. Nice.
- Now that’s a good sign… Wow, who knew that the Citizens United decision would have such a horrific, yet measurable effect on politics in the United States? If you’re like me, you were relived to hear that the highest court in the land decided that political giving should be both anonymous and without limit. Best idea ever? WRONG. 47% of contributions to political groups (like SuperPACs) are now from undisclosed sources…it was 1% in 2006. Probably just lots and lots of hard-working Americans, chipping in $50 here, $100 there…or is it a small cadre of mega-billionaires…or perhaps a hostile foreign government? Thanks a lot, Supreme Court!
Somehow, Tuesdays went and became Super.
For me, when I wake up on Tuesday morning, having just survived yet another Monday, my reaction is less “Its Super Tuesday!!!” and more “Dear God! Its only Tuesday?”
But I digress. Last Tuesday really was Super Tuesday (no, really). There were national and state primaries and special elections and ballot measures and propositions state and local. There were highs and lows, heartbreaking disappointments, reinvigorations of hope, and plenty of general weirdness. So, in the tradition of putting random lists together with funny, bold titles, I present my highs and lows and “Wha?” of the Super Duper Ruper Tuesday past.
SWEET: Prop 16 LOSES! Nothing so far this year has given me more hope for our political and national future than this. Proposition 16 would have required a 2/3 majority vote before local governments could enter into agreements to provide community choice in power providers, thereby consolidating PG&E’s stranglehold monopoly on California energy production. This was the ultimate David v. Goliath battle — PG&E (I’m sorry, I mean “Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote“…jerks) funding hit the $44 million mark on May 24th, while the No on 16 “campaign” dropped less than $100,000. Finally! In an election and political atmosphere absolutely dripping with gobs of sweet, sweet cash, boatloads of money just weren’t enough to trick California voters. Next stop: public power!!!
BOOOOOO: Blanche Lincoln wins Senate Democratic Primary run-off in Arkansas against progressive-challenger Bill Halter. Ahhhhhh, Blanche. One of the last Democratic party holdouts against Health Care Reform, Blanche also thinks the Clean Air Act goes too far, loves BP and Big Oil in general, and despises unions…you know, typical Democratic platform sort of stuff. Yet, even with some very fishy goings-on (for example, one district that voted overwhelmingly for Bill Halter in the primary found their open polling stations reduced from 40 to 2 on election day), Halter conceded the race to Lincoln, who is now free to lose against any republican that comes forward in the Fall election…because nothing rallies the Democratic base like a conservative democrat.
UGH: Well, I suppose the competition was Sue “you can just pay your doctor with a chicken” Lowden, but still, in a state where they outlawed the wearing of chicken suits to polling places, republicans elected Sharron Angle – tea party darling, scientologist and general right wing lunatic – to represent them this fall against incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Apparently, “too weird” isn’t in the Nevada lexicon. Reid, once in real danger in November, now sleeps easy at night, or does he?
WHA?: Some dude won the Senate Democratic primary in South. I say, “some dude”, because no one knows who he is. Alvin Greene ran no campaign, lives with his mother, hasn’t worked since 2009, and apparently walked in and tried to pay his campaign fees with a personal check. And…it turns out that he’s facing obscenity charges from an incident last November for showing obscene pictures to a college student. Yet, he CRUSHED the incumbent Vic Rawl – 59% to 41%. Hmmmmm… Majority House Whip Clyburn alleges republican conspiracy. Or, maybe the alphabet was to blame (Greene does come before Rawl, after all). This will get interesting…and see the strange and bizarre interview on Keith Olbermann…
Definitely, a Super Tuesday…
There they are, sharing the stage for the first time!
Ohh…it was a grand old time with these lovely ladies.
SOOOOO many gems!
One favorite (and ridiculous) talking point of Bachmann is that the U.S. economy was 100% private before Obama took power (going to assume this doesn’t need supporting documentation to prove wrong…are you with me, dear reader?). She’s also hyping the preposterous notion of a “repeal” of health care reform…which implies a veto-proof republican majority in both houses of congress (I guess that’s only a pick up 26 senate seats and 90 house seats…ambitious, anyone???). Is that really going to be the 2010 republican campaign? Eliminate tax breaks? Take our healthcare benefits away? Brilliant.
More good stuff:
- Bachmann on Palin “as absolutely drop-dead gorgeous as this woman is on the outside, I am here to testify she is 20 times more beautiful on the inside.”
- Palin: “I love being here in Minnesota because you all sound like me – or I sound like you, vice versa!” Yeah…where does that ridiculous accent come from?
- Bachmann during a standing ovation: “Take that, Liberals!” Yes, because Liberals are such villans…all that helping your fellow human being and protecting the planet and promoting peace and whatnot…they simply MUST be stopped…
- (This one makes my ears bleed) Palin on Bachmann: “And I knew that we would be buddies when she came up and said we should ‘drill here and drill now.’ And I said — and then I replied, ‘Drill baby, drill’ And then we both said, ‘You betcha,’ Ohhh, the pain…
- “Will you do the rest of the nation a favor and re-elect Michele Bachmann, help her keep on serving this country?” And by serve the country, you mean introduce legislation to save the dollar bill (from Obama, of course), suggest representatives be investigated for anti-American sentiment and throw red meat to tea party “activists”…
And only $10,000 for a picture with the two of them…why, its a steal at TWICE the price!!
Its sad, funny stuff…but these women are popular, they have fanatical followers, and they LOVE making stuff up to fool, rile up or just scare people…about government take-overs, and death panels, and socialism, and how Obama is some kind of sinister, yet (of course) weak and illegitimate, leader.
But its not all bad news. Note this classic blurb from an MSNBC report on the rally:
A small group of peace protesters set up camp across the street from the convention hall. Melissa Hill, 31, brandished a sign offering psychiatric help because, she said, “I just don’t know what these people are thinking.”
Quote today from Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, “I think the term ‘cap and trade’ is not in the lexicon anymore.”
Almost simultaneously, Barack Obama gave the middle finger to U.S. environmentalists and progressives by opening large swaths of the coastline to offshore oil drilling.
In the immortal words of The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy: “What is this – Bizarro-world?” Is Obama now following the ridiculously misinformed “Drill-baby-Drill” mantra of former VP-candidate/annoying twitterer Sarah Palin? Are we “pulling a single-payer“, where we give up tons of ground to the right (known, of course, as “compromising”) in advance of hoped-for bipartisan legislation that, in the end, will fail to gain a single republican vote?
What is the strategy here? Environmental groups (Helllooo Democratic party base!) are alienated. The right scoffs and demands more concessions…before they collectively DON’T vote for any future energy plan (I’m looking at you, John “I’m a big baby” McCain). And this, right after an admittedly huge win on health care. Back to the bipartisan drawing board…oyyyy…STOP THE MADNESS!!!
I can’t help but be cynical…and stop me if this sounds familiar…but I see a long, protracted battle where Democrats are “forced” to give more and more ground to republicans, until we have, AT BEST, a VERY centrist bill with only moderate, uninspired public support, on an issue of monumental importance to our country and the world at large, with lots of right wing lunatics (encouraged by politicans and weeping TV personalities) screaming their heads off about the end of their country and their freedom and blahblahblah…and maybe someone brings a gun or two (again…encouraged) to a “climate town hall”…that ends, possibly in defeat, with no republicans willing to cross the aisle…and a terrible November for Democrats.
PLEASE, tell me I’m wrong.
Oh, Joe, Joe, Joe.
Imagine that George W. just hadn’t happened at all….ahhhhhhh….excuse me, I have to go into the next room…
Anyways, so this guy who nearly carried the Democratic Party into the new millenium, losing in the end only by supreme court decision, is basically just another Republican asshole.
Lets review for a moment, shall we?
- Iraq War? “BEST IDEA EVER” says Joe Lieberman (“D” – VT)
- Lieberman converts to Independent candidate, just in time for 2006 election, when Democrats would have voted him out.
- Lieberman joins Lindsey Graham (r – SC) in accusing war critics of being dummies.
- Lieberman joins McCain campaign AGAINST Barack Obama (Best Smear: Obama does not put country first)
- Lieberman gives GOP Convention Speech (what is this, Bizarro-world? My God, is that Zell Miller jumping for joy in his grave? awww shoot…guess he’s still alive)
You get the idea. Joe Lieberman sucks.
And now, on the verge of one of the most important reforms to our nation’s health care system, an “opt-out” (hey, its better than nothing, right) public option (or, in republicanese, “Socialism“), Joe Lieberman is threatening to join a republican filibuster unless the public option is removed..in other words, Joe Lieberman might be THE vote, lucky senator #41 (out of 100) that prevents any kind of meaningful reform from even getting to debate, let alone an up or down vote.
The fact that he represents a state with HUGE support for the public option apparently means nothing to this prick.
Kills me that this guy is holding all the cards. Here’s an idea: maybe, just maybe, we can go old school: lets make him stand up on the floor and ACTUALLY FILIBUSTER health care reform. Maybe he can explain in excrutiating detail how health care reform, unlike two simultaneous middle east wars, will wreck our nation, while 5 people die every hour from not having health care insurance.
Joe Lieberman sucks.
Wow…somehow the nation’s children survived Obama’s indoctrination speech yesterday.
His attempts to mold American kids into socialist, muslim, uber-liberal, white-hating, probably gay (pardon the obvious impossibilities of said combination) automatons drummed up some pretty intense fear (seriously, is that woman crying?) amongst the gullible/dishonest class (Republican base). Clearly, encouraging children to stay in school, do their homework, listen to their teachers and take responsibility for their education is tantamount to child molest.
Continuing with the theme that Republicans have no shame and Democrats are weak and spineless, the uproar over Obama’s speech to the nation’s schoolchildren “forced” the administration to modify its “evil plans” to try to dampen the “controversy”. Translation for Republicans: Wow, we can get this President to do anything we want! All we have to do is take advantage of our utter shamelessness in lying, our ability to parrot the same quotes and ideas ad nauseum all over the news media, our incredibly naïve/hate-filled base of support, and the astounding willingness of said news media to take us seriously!
HEY, DID YOU HEAR THAT OBAMA IS USING ALL THE REVENUES FROM CASH FOR CLUNKERS TO BY COPIES OF THE KORAN FOR EVERY SCHOOL IN AMERICA?!?!?!
Its true, because I said it loudly.
Want to know why the Right seems to dominate the public discourse, why they seem to win without being in power, how they convince “Joe SixPack” that the Republican Party is THE party for “American Values”, how they have turned the health care reform debate into a tale of death panels, death books, funding for abortions and illegal immigrants, government takeover, Americans losing their health insurance, etc.?
1) Republicans have no shame about lying. Seriously, they will say anything, no matter how preposterous, to get their way. They will say it loudly, they will insist on their lies despite heavy evidence to the contrary. If they are backed into a corner on their lies, they will either a) start to insult their opponent, b) restate the lie in a way that a very careful listener will see gives them some kind of an out, or c) insist that didn’t say what they just said. BUT, and this is essential, the take-away story is the lie that was told.
2) all Republicans say the exact same thing in the media. The discipline with these assholes is amazing. As soon as someone comes up with an especially juicy, fear-mongering lie, and before the left (or, lets face it, the sensible) can expose it, the lie is immediately disseminated to the entire cast of politicians and talking heads for ENDLESS repetition on every single talk show, radio show, floor speech, press conference, editorial page, etc.
3) the story in the Press, and this might be the most crucial of all three, is what is said, not what is true or false.
For example: “Many Republicans decry the health care plan’s use of “death panels” to screen the elderly for end-of-life care. The White House and congressional Democrats insist that there is no such provision in any of the plans. Clearly, the health care debate has a long way to go.”
Now, what’s wrong with this story? While there is nothing actually false about this blurb, it misses a key point – ONE SIDE IS LYING!
How about this one: “Many Americans say that the only way to cure cancer is to butcher a horse and spread the blood over the afflicted’s body. The majority of Americans don’t believe this to be the case. The search for a cure continues.”
Again, the story is simply what was said. THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Lets rewrite both of these, shall we?
1. “Republicans continue to spread the ridiculous lie that Obama’s healthcare reform will put old people to death.”
2. “There’s a small group of complete idiots in America saying some ridiculous things about crucial life and death issues.” (Use in place of either blurb)
THAT, is news. That, is the truth. That, is what we need to hear.
DEAR PRESS: DO YOUR JOB!