Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Will They Stop Newt?

I ask, what Democrat / liberal is not enjoying this whole Newt resurgence thing?

Yes, it goes without saying that he's evil incarnate, but that truism aside, what I'm loving is picturing Newt as an experiment gone terribly wrong in a Republican science lab.

Newt is everything that has comprised a Republican over the last several years: he's brash, egomaniacal, an opportunist, a hypocrite, a liar, he infers racism, he's a fear-mongerer, he talks up "family values," etc. It's as if the GOP took cells from Atwater, DeLay, Cheney, Nixon and a bunch of other heinous party figures and combined them in a petrie dish, attempting to create an uber-Republican.

But alas, something went badly wrong and this creature called "Newt" escaped from the lab, and now he wreaks havoc on the party that created him. The conventional GOP establishment is freaking out, trying to kill the Frankenstein they created. However this monster is seemingly unstoppable, much like the super-zombies in the movie "28 Days Later," where the dead could run amazingly fast and chomped everything in sight.

In this last debate, poor Romney tried his best to fight back, but he was laughably feeble in comparison to Newt, who fended off each truthful assault Romney hoisted at him with ease. Of course, Newt used lies, deflection and an indignant tone to dazzle the crowd and come out on top, but that's exactly what an uber-Republican is designed to do.


Strap in and stay tuned, this is going to get good....

Rachel Maddow Fact-checks PolitiFact

Rachel Maddow administers a well-deserved take-down of the farcical web site, PolitiFact. Recall their nonsensical 2011 Lie Of The Year. Watch Maddow officially make this web site obsolete, click here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Despicable Newt Wins S.C.

I received the announcement by email around 7:30pm last night, from the NY Times:
Newt Gingrich Wins the South Carolina Primary, The A.P. Projects

Television networks and The Associated Press projected Newt Gingrich as the
winner of the South Carolina primary Saturday, just 10 days after a fifth-place
finish in New Hampshire left the impression his candidacy was all but dead.

Surprising his rivals and upending the highly unpredictable Republican race for
the presidency in its third, pivotal contest, so strong was Mr. Gingrich’s
performance that the major television networks declared him the winner the
minute the polls closed, basing their projections on exit polls that showed him
winning a plurality of voters among a wide swath of important Republican voting
Newt declared the winner "the minute the polls closed," trouncing Romney by almost 13%. Wow, has to be considered a bad loss for Romney, esp. since I believe SC has correctly picked the last eight Republican nominees.

And note above the "his candidacy was all but dead." Sounds eerily similar to John McCain's fate four years ago, his campaign sputtering, key people left him, suddenly things begin to reverse and poof -- he becomes the nominee. Same thing to happen for Newt?

Who can predict when it comes to a party that only continues to become more kooky and nutty with each passing year. Now I'm hearing several powerful GOP figures to the far, far right of the far right in the party are hoping for a brokered convention which would allow them to install a "chosen one" to save the day (Palin? Christie? Mitch Daniels??). Again, who friggin knows.

I just love how the SC folks likely despised and continue to despise Bill Clinton and his foolish dalliance with Lewinsky, and yet with two-time cheater Newt, Mr. Family Values, fully draped in blankets of hypocrisy, that's not a problem. Apparently, the Christian thing to do is to always forgive Republicans, over and over, no matter the frequency or circumstances. But for Democrats, not a chance. Instead Republican SC voters say, "May sinners not on our political side burn in Hell forever!!" You know, as it says in the Bible....

This Republican nominee circus manages to continue to just astound those who can still think rationally.

And serving as ringmaster to this sh*t show is Newt himself, the supposed brainiac of the circus performers. I must say, during a campaign season where we've been treated to the utter repulsiveness of Newt Gingrich in all its squirmy glory, the man manages to continuously top himself.

He has called Palestinians "invented" people, and of course he must be right given Newt is a highly-respected (and well-paid) historian....

Then there was Newt's bracing suggestion that poor kids should replace janitors in our school systems (sweeping for Miss Daisy??). Even more disturbing is the amount of applause this idea receives from debate audiences. But then again, the debate audiences have proven to be more repugnant and ugly than any of the candidates, which is saying quite a bit.

And recently we heard Newt boast, “more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.” Both a racist and misleading statement, but that's what Newt does, goes for the emotional bell-ringer as opposed to intellect, and does so in an underhanded way. The fact is no president "puts" people on food stamps. People sign up for such assistance on their own, and unfortunately Obama inherited such an anemic, underperforming economy that people in record numbers have been forced to seek such help.

Dick Polman summarized it well:
It's easy to see why Newt was playing the race card. The primary is Saturday and he's scrambling to catch Mitt Romney. What better time to roll in the gutter, South Carolina style? "The best food stamp president" is code for saying "the black president who is signing up record numbers of lazy blacks, so that they can get more handouts on the government dime."

Yes, the best way to pander to the willfully ignorant - and thus gain ground in the GOP race - is to pepper them with lies. Newt did so, via his seral insinuations.

For starters, Obama doesn't "put" anyone on food stamps. The federal Agriculture Department's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides qualifying low-income people with vouchers to buy food, is voluntary. More people tend to sign up for the program when times are tough. Times have been tough since the Great Recession struck us with full force - before Obama even took office. And times have been tough across all racial lines; according to the 2010 Census, 74 percent of SNAP recipients are not black.

Thanks largely to the recession, the number of SNAP recipients has jumped 65 percent since 2008. But that's not the only reason. Signing up has become easier, due to eligibility rules that were loosened in 2002 and in 2008 - during the Bush administration. Indeed, the number of SNAP recipients rose in seven of the eight Bush years. The total number jumped by 63 percent during Bush's tenure. Oddly, I don't ever recall hearing Newt tag Bush as a "food stamp president."

And it's a lie to even imply that SNAP recipients are shiftless slackers; according to the 2010 census, 41 percent of recipients live in a household where somebody works. In other words, the working poor are swelling the food stamp rolls, seeking help because their low-paying jobs (at a time of severe wage stagnation) can't put enough food on the table.

The braying debate crowd naturally knew nothing about these nuances - and nobody on that stage, least of all Newt, dared try to enlighten them.
Yup, large number of hateful, ignorant folk comprise the GOP so the likes of Newt know full well what better way to curry favor with such knuckle-draggers than to hoist race-bating, inaccurate horse sh*t at them. Don't educate, instead fulminate.

And then we have the latest from Newt, and for my money the best yet. CNN interviewed his second wife, who said that Newt had asked her to consider the idea of an "open marriage" when he was caught cheating (second time for Newt). When this interview came up in the GOP debate, Newt became inflamed and said it was "despicable" to mention.

Classic Newt, turning the tables to characterize him as the victim. Just imagine if an opponent of his had this abhorrent legacy as baggage -- Newt would've made it an issue to be attacked, repeatedly. He would've said it speaks volumes about the character and decision-making process of the person, and he would have been right.

Newt commits this despicable act against his second wife, and yet he now proclaims that CNN is despicable for bringing to light what wouldn't be a concern or topic to begin with if Newt had not acted a certain way years ago.

Worse yet, the debate audience loudly applauded Newt's cries of victimhood. And he goes on to win the primary.

Only with the modern-day Republican Party can a man cheat on his wife twice, suggest an "open marriage" option to one of the cheated-on wives, become indignant with rage when his ugly past is brought to fore, calling the messenger "despicable" and to then receive wild applause for doing so.

What is clearly despicable is everything about Newt, much less the modern-day GOP.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Now that Bachmann, Trump, Cain and Gingrich have all experienced their relatively brief rise and fall in what is the clownish GOP presidential race, may we please learn from the past and not spend too much time on Santorum. He too will be forgotten in short-order as he has almost no shot of becoming the Republican nominee, and even less of a shot of becoming the next president, so can we just not waste time profiling his extreme positions and outrageous statements only to see him fade in the near future. Please?

I must confess, I watched a bit of Saturday's NH debate and hearing Romney trot out the red-meat lines to please the hard-right GOP base, I continue to wonder if he's sort of winking to the rest of us more moderate Americans, assuring us that he has to say this stuff to win the nomination but that he doesn't really believe it so please don't be afraid. OR I wonder, does he actually believe these far-right positions that he now claims to believe in?? If he were to be the next president, would he actually become the second coming of GW? Obviously, it's not just me wondering about these questions, but Republicans likewise are befuddled and fear he would instead tack back to his more moderate days as governor of MA.

What's hilarious about this is the modern-day Republican Party has forced it to be this way. The party and its base are so far to the right, so extreme, that if they were to elect one of their true zealots as their nominee, even they have to know that such a person would have little chance of winning in November. So the party is left with a once more moderate figure, such as McCain and Romney, and yet to win the nomination via appeasing and placating the base, the McCains and Romneys must twist and turn, contorting themselves like a pretzel to rid themselves of their pasts and try to convince the doubters that they now think like them, that they've seen the light, that the far right agenda is a beautiful thing.

And yet the base still doesn't quite believe, offering only tepid support, and meanwhile if/when this newly-converted moderate gets to be the GOP nominee, the job becomes increasingly difficult for now this person must try to appeal to the more moderate general electorate. And yet too much has already been said by the GOP nominee, too many statements endorsing far-right positions and criticizing programs and beliefs that are popular with the majority of voters -- and it's all captured on videotape, ready-made for 30-second ads.

You can see how the GOP has more or less made it near impossible for one of their own to make a successful run at the White House. It's difficult enough to have everything break your way to come out on top when making a go of it for president, but given the obstacle course that the GOP has created in addition to all of the other obstacles that come with the territory of running, the odds of succeeding certainly plummet that much more.

Fellow Democrats and liberals could say, "Bravo!" Let their kooky dysfunction remain, thus benefiting the likes of Obama and future Dems looking to reside in the WH. However, the problem is as long as they remain extreme in their views, not waking up to the problems that stem from it as described above, enough far-right Senators and Congresspersons will likely win office to serve as strident obstructionists. As we've come to learn, a Democrat as President is much less effective with these folks playing partisan games, as opposed to when Reagan was in office and Democrats controlled Congress. I don't recall then the Dems refusing to compromise on everything Reagan tried to do....

If Romney were to beat Obama (just saying), and the GOP continued to control Congress, Romney would conceivably be able to pass many of the things Obama would like to pass but hasn't been able to due simply to partisan obstruction. Suddenly stimulus-like measures would be framed in a new way and Republicans would rally around and support them. It would have nothing to do with Romney and everything to do with party-line politics in this day and age.

So for the good of the country, I believe it's better for the GOP to finally realize the quagmire they've created for themselves and to once and for all begin to purge the far-right nutballs and wingnuts and return to the days when the party was more moderate and reasonable. I never would've thought that those days would be more like Reagan, since he was thought to be fairly extreme at that time, but in comparison to today he's just a bit right of FDR! It would ultimately increase their chances of getting a Republican back in the White House, but more so it would help to get this country on the right course to recovery. Isn't that what counts, country first?

Having said all of this I continue to be amazed at how much Obama has been able to actually accomplish despite stern resistance from the opposing party. Just take a look at the chart below, showing the progress he has made on the job front, all the while receiving no help from Republicans. Bravo indeed.