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Jan 31 2009

Hangover Discurso

In case you were wondering, yes, socializing was a success. I got to go fall in love with my adopted city all over again, I’m stuffed to the gills on excellent food, and Dark Knight on the IMAX screen was teh awesome.

And I had all of this lovely Con stupidity to come home to. Yippee!

For those of you who were desperate to know who the next chairman of the RNC would be, wonder no more:

Today, Republican National Committee (RNC) delegates chose former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele as their new chairman. Steele is the first African-American to lead the party, which continues to struggle with diversity problems.

The choice of Steele represents a considerable failure for the social conservatives who dominated during the era of Tom DeLay and George W. Bush. These far right wingers — including Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, Richard Viguerie, and Ed Meese — all backed Kenneth Blackwell, who had one of the poorest showings in the election.

The frothing fundies didn’t get their man, but never fear! Steele has plenty of entertainment potential. This is the man who thinks whites-only country clubs are not a problem because he, personally, doesn’t play golf. Which may go a long way towards explaining why he thinks anyone who isn’t LGBT doesn’t care about LGBT rights. He once called the R in front of his name a scarlet letter and repeatedly tried to brand himself a Democrat in 2006. And he likes to compare stem cell research to Nazi experiments. Doesn’t he sound like the perfect Con to improve Cons’ electoral chances after two cycles of abject defeat?

Consider that this is the best man they could find for the job:

Indeed, whenever I see Steele, I immediately think of the editorial the Washington Post ran on his U.S. Senate candidacy in 2006, which described Steele as a man of “no achievement, no record, no evidence and certainly no command of the issues.” Noting his four-year tenure as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, the Post added, “Steele had at best a marginal impact, even on his handpicked projects.”

No wonder Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed a little worried when he yammered to the RNC about the Con outlook on the eve of Steele’s victory (h/t):

“We’re all concerned about the fact that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated, and a majority of minority voters, seem to have more or less stopped paying attention to us. And we should be concerned that, as a result of all this, the Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one,” McConnell told the gathering.

“In politics, there’s a name for a regional party: it’s called a minority party. And I didn’t sign up to be a member of a regional party . . . As Republicans, we know that common-sense conservative principles aren’t regional. But I think we have to admit what our sales job has been poor. And in my view, that needs to change.”

Oh, Mitch. The voters are totally paying attention to you. That’s why they’re not voting for you.

But according to the current leading lights in the Con party, it’s just a matter of marketing:

Every once in a while, a Freudian slip of mammoth ugly truth proportions falls from someone’s lips. Behold:

Before Gingrich offered that somewhat surprising praise, Boehner reminded Republicans that they are no longer in the business of legislating and should focus almost solely on communicating their message with voters.

“We are in the communications business,” Boehner told the crowd during his opening remarks. “We can build a new Republican majority one issue at a time.”

Ask not what you can do for your country.

Ask what you can manipulate the voters of your country to do for your own personal ambition and the growing needs of the rapacious Republican party.

[snip]

Because nothing says “man of the people” like a robust speech about how their needs don’t matter unless your political party is getting something out of it, while dining in luxury accommodations and taking in the mineral waters and perhaps a morning Sportsman treatment for a bit of uplift around the eye area and a gentle scrubbing of the skin to enhance that Ebenezer glow.

You know why they’re talking about “sales jobs,” don’t you? It’s because when all you’ve got to offer is snake oil, you can’t let the product speak for itself. You have to con people into buying your useless bullshit. And that, my darlings, is why they’re called “Cons.”

What they’re trying to sell right now is the idea that we don’t need no stinkin’ stimulus, and they’ll go to pseudo-heroic lengths to stand in its way:

Last night on NPR’s All Things Considered, host Robert Siegel asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about the prospects of a Republican filibuster of the Senate’s version of the economic recovery package. Grassley responded that Republicans would indeed filibuster the package, requiring the bill to garner a 60-vote majority for passage:

SIEGEL: By the way, Senator, we always just assume that anything in the Senate requires 60 votes because there will be a filibuster threat. Is that right? Does this bill need 60 votes to pass?

GRASSLEY: Yes.

SIEGAL: It does?

GRASSLEY: Yes.

They may want to rethink that default obstructionist position just a wee bit. Despite an all-out media assault on the stimulus, voters are smelling the snake oil, and deciding they ain’t buying:

A new poll in support of the stimulus plan:

A new poll by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.

A survey of 1,200 voters in 40 traditionally Republican congressional districts now held by Democrats Greenberg’s firm conducted between Jan. 14 to 19 shows Obama’s post-election honeymoon reaching a rapturous stage, with 44 percent of voters strongly supporting his policies.

A full 64 percent favor his economic plan, compared to 27 percent against. And precisely that same proportion favors the stimulus in 13 states that are expected to have competitive Senate races in 2010: Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Colorado, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Greenberg says an incumbent’s support for the economic plan appears to make voters more likely to reelect the lawmaker — particularly good news for the 20 or so Democrats who in November captured districts that former President Bush carried in 2004. He said one-third of Republicans and two-thirds of independents are leaning with Obama’s general goals on the recovery.

Numbers like these would make a party capable of thinking engage in some serious cogitation about the likely effects of standing firm against a piece of legislation that 64% of voters in conservative districts love. A party concerned about getting their candidates elected might want to consider the fact that voters are plumping for the pols that support the stimulus. We know the Cons are hard of thinking, but I do hope the Blue Dogs fire up the synapses and stop acting like outrageous idiots. Emulating the Cons seems, I dunno, suicidal at this point.

But if the Blue Dogs and the Cons want to help more progressive Dems win in landslides in 2010, I won’t quibble. So nice of them to provide us so much lovely ammunition.

1 comment

  1. 1
    Cujo359

    They seem to have picked the one candidate who isn’t completely deplorable. Not saying he’s all that good, mind you, but when you compare him to guys like Blackwell and Duncan he looks almost respectable.

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