Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

And the future of the Republicon party is

The results of the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference have just been released, and you’ll never guess who won.

[snip]

Here it is in order:

  1. Mitt Romney
  1. Bobby Jindal
  1. Sarah Palin & Ron Paul
  1. Charlie Crist

Romney won last year as well. Prior to that it was Rudy Giuliani and George Allen.

So you can see what great prognosticators they are.

I’m a little surprised to see Charlie Crist in the Top Five – he just doesn’t strike me as insane enough for that crowd. Then again, it’s possible they threw his name in there for shits and giggles, and there were only the six choices. Sarah Palin and Ron Paul tying for third is hysterical. Can’t you just see that ticket?

Amazingly enough, Mike Huckabee didn’t even make the list, but it wasn’t for lack of trying:

On Thursday, Mike Huckabee offered the CPAC faithful the kind of rhetoric they want to hear.

“The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead,” said Huckabee, “but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born.” Democrats, according to Huckabee, were packing 40 years of pet projects like “health care rationing” into spending bills. “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”

The estimable Mark Kleiman, noting the bizarre remarks, said Huckabee may be “self-destructing” as a credible national figure.

Yes, yes, the CPAC crowd is the extreme of the extreme. But in the YouTube era you can’t go around mouthing this stuff and be taken seriously as a candidate for President.

I’d really love to believe that, but I don’t.

[snip]

That’s just not how modern conservative politics works. In Republican circles, there’s no such thing as excessive rhetoric.

True, that. For instance, the CPAC straw poll also returned Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly as their #s 2 and 3 most favoritest media personality. This is what they consider worth watching:

Whenever Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly get together, a new black hole of wingnuttery opens up in the time-space continuum. This could eventually prove to be unhealthy for human existence.

Take last night for example:

O’Reilly: There’s got to be a reason why Feinstein and Pelosi and Leahy and all these far-left loons want to do damage to the country. This hurts the United States. Al Qaeda — you know who the happiest people in the world are on a CIA investigation? Al Qaeda. They’re the happiest people. Let’s find out what the CIA’s up to. Who does it help? It helps Al Qaeda.

Beck: Are you saying that — Wait a minute, are you saying that these guys might be un-American?

O’Reilly: I’m not saying un-American. I would never say that. I’m saying misguided severely. And maybe should be tortured.

Beck: [Laughs] Who gets to do that?

They go on to soft-peddle the torture rhetoric by contemplating Beck’s show as the instrument – and they are correct in that regard: Glenn Beck’s program is a torturous thing to watch. If you’ve never had the displeasure, check out this gem. It’s a “special” postulating that by 2014, we’ll be living in a Mad Max world. You get the feeling that Beck wants the extreme right wing to take up guns, nukes and whatever other weapons they can muster, and destroy American civilization, all because he can’t stand the idea of a popular Democrat as President.

Sad, pathetic men, aren’t they? Do you see now why I put “special” in quotes? The short bus is a little too long for people who can’t even find their ass with both hands, a GPS, and two aides.

Beck, O’Reilly et al aren’t the only ones jumping on Limbaugh’s “Root for failure!” bandwagon, either. More and more Con lawmakers have signed on for the trip:

Just before President Obama was inaugurated, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh declared, “I hope he fails.” Though some Republicans have distanced themselves from Limbaugh’s sentiment, conservatives at CPAC have fully embraced it.

In an interview with ThinkProgress today, radio host Mark Levin and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) added their voices to the chorus of conservatives hoping for Obama’s failure:

TP: What do you think about what Rush said about, I mean, do you hope, should we hope that President Obama fails?

LEVIN: Yes.

TP: Yes?

SANTORUM: If…absolutely we hope that his policies fail.

“I believe his policies will fail, I don’t know, but I hope they fail,” added Santorum.

Steve Benen “can’t recall ever hearing so many prominent political figures hoping for American leaders’ failure like this, especially not in the midst of a crisis.” He delivers a stunning bitch-slap to the failmongers:

About a half-century ago, actor John Wayne, who was very conservative, was asked for his thoughts after JFK defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. “I didn’t vote for him,” Wayne said, “but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

Wasn’t it these self-same Cons who were telling us just a few months ago that anyone who failed to support the President is a traitor?

Cons are achieving stunning new heights of insanity and hypocrisy. And just like all insane hypocrites, they’re eating their own:

The finance director for the Republican National Committee resigned abruptly Friday afternoon, and a source familar with the situation said he was forced out.

Reince Priebus, who’s running the transition team for new RNC Chairman Michael Steele, confirmed that Tim Crawford resigned Friday after just two weeks as the committee’s interim finance director.

No word on why (sex? Drugs? Embezzlement? Saying something reasonably sane?), but an insider says he didn’t resign on his own initiative. This should get interesting – especially considering Tim Crawford is also Sarah PAC’s treasurer. Oh, the plot sickens, it does, it does!

And if you think that unfolding drama might provide hours of entertainment, you’re going to be delighted to discover just how much more is in store:

Sen. Jim Bunning (R) of Kentucky hasn’t been getting along with his party lately. Convinced that his erratic behavior, bizarre comments, poor fundraising, and weak poll numbers all but guarantee his defeat next year, the Republican Party has been pushing Bunning to retire, and quietly reaching out to other potential GOP candidates.

Bunning has responded with varying degrees of outrage. He’s no longer talking to most of his Republican colleagues. He announced this week that he no longer trusts NSRC Chairman John Cornyn. On Tuesday, Bunning talked openly about suing the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

This, however, would represent a whole new level of spite.

Already in conflict with his party’s leaders, Sen. Jim Bunning has reportedly said privately that if he is hindered in raising money for his re-election campaign he is ready with a response that would be politically devastating for Senate Republicans: his resignation.

The Kentucky Republican suggested that possible scenario at a campaign fundraiser for him on Capitol Hill earlier this week, according to three sources who asked not to be identified because of the politically sensitive nature of Bunning’s remarks.

The implication, they said, was that Bunning would allow Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, to appoint his replacement — a move that could give Democrats the 60 votes they need to block Republican filibusters in the Senate.

“I would get the last laugh. Don’t forget Kentucky has a Democrat governor,” one of the sources quoted Bunning as saying.

“The only logical extension of that comment is, ‘(Make me mad) … enough and I’ll resign, and then you’ve got 60 Democrats,’ ” said another source who was present at the event.

Bunny’s now trying to claim he never threw that challenge in his colleagues’ teeth, but multiple sources beg to differ.

He’s a crazy SOB even by Con standards. He might just follow through. And that would propel the right-wing hysteria machine into the stratosphere. It seems, my darlings, that we are fated to live in interesting times.

We’ll see if the Cons survive them.

Political Snark at its Finest

Digby highlighted one of the most beautiful rants I’ve read all week. I’m only going to give you snippets. Go. Read the whole thing. I don’t care if it’s Saturday – you only think you have better things to do:

No. You’re idiots and your mothers are embarrassed by every single one of you. It’s almost rush hour. Go panhandle outside the Heritage Foundation now. And Accuracy in Media remains one of the most blissfully ironic names in the political lexicon. Once, when writing about John McCain for Esquire, just at the very beginning of the Full Monica, I went to CPAC. (In those days, it should be noted, McCain didn’t have three votes in the hall.) What you had there then was what you have there now–the distilled essence of what Krugman was talking about when he mentioned Beavis and Butthead in relationship to the conservative movement the other night.

[snip]

Look at this decaying lump of abject fail. Kids, in every place save his own mind, Newt Gingrich ended up a profound political failure. Rick Santorum lost. Badly. Global-warming denial? At least invite some UFOlogists to really liven things up. Election fraud? From the party of Katherine Harris? Citizen-led reform? In a country that has demonstrated its revulsion toward all you stand for in two consecutive elections, and that’s now lining up at almost 60 percent behind a huge big-gubmint stimulus plan that makes Arthur Laffer cry like a child every night?

Damn, that’s tasty!

Another Noxious Bush Reg Bites the Dust

A few months ago, I alerted you to Bush’s little scheme to allow healthcare providers to redefine birth control as abortion and then refuse to provide the service. At the time, I gave you what I considered wise advice:

We can’t rely on Obama’s ability to roll these rules back. Better for the country if they’re never implemented at all.

It’s nice to be half-wrong sometimes. Looks like we can rely on Obama after all:

Today, the Obama administration plans to rescind the controversial “conscience rule,” which “allows healthcare workers to deny abortion counseling or other family planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs.”

That’s my President, that is. He’s not got a perfect record in rolling back Bush abuses – in fact, if a few things don’t change over the next week, a trip to the woodshed will be in order – but he’s doing a tremendous amount of good very, very quickly.

This is why I find it rather difficult to apply the Smack-o-Matic in his case. Every time I pick the damned thing up, he does something that makes me put it right back down. Y’know, little things like, oh, I dunno,

Ending the war in Iraq.

Restoring Superfund, making polluters pay, and ending tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

Planning a budget even Paul Krugman can love.

Going for healthcare reform.

Delivering a kick-ass speech that helps prepare the country for progressivism.

And that’s just a few items from the last few days.

It’s a good thing the Cons have been such raging idiots, or the poor Smack-o-Matic would be gathering dust. We can’t have that.

The following illustration describes the situation precisely:

Our President is practically MacGuyver. I’m loving this.

The Revolution’s Been Postponed Due to Lack of Interest

Oh, look! Sad, pathetic people holding hands:

So, remember just last week when derivatives-trader-turned-working-man-populist Rick Santelli delivered his infamous rant about Obama’s housing and other economic plans? Remember when Andie Collier at Politico announced that Obama was in trouble because America was “a nation of Santellis” (presumably, good news for McCain)?

Remember all those “Chicago Tea Parties” Americans were supposed to participate in, taking out their righteous anger against Obama’s anti-American economic plans? It was supposed to the be first wave of Americans taking to the streets against socialism, the birth of the New Minutemen. Michelle Malkin insists there’s a growing tax revolt that “the MSM won’t cover.” It seems there was an army of angry citizens waiting to storm the barricades, holding “Obamination” signs and taking back the Republican Republic for sweet laissez-faire liberty.

Well, those were on for today. The protests received the assistance of numerous conservative organizations and their email lists, from The Heartland Institute to Americans for Tax Reform to the American Spectator, and were all scheduled to happen today, the 27th of February.

The results? Not so impressive.

Let’s see…The Pittsburgh party was canceled due to rain. A whopping 79 people showed up today in Jacksonville, FL. Looks like maybe over a dozen showed up in Asheville, NC. Almost 10 people made it to the Buffalo, NY, protest. About 100 people throughout all of Los Angeles came out to Santa Monica Pier. All of about 300 people made it out throughout the entirety of Atlanta. 250 made it out to Dallas for the tea party there. 150 in Lansing. Looks like about 100 went to watch the Joe the Plumber and Michelle Malkin teabag fest in D.C. (if you had to retch, it’s not my fault, just your dirty, dirty mind…)

The very best numbers these jokers managed to pull was 1,500 people in St. Louis (UPDATE: St. Louis wasn’t anywhere close to 1,500; it was more like 400 if that–delusional, pathetic FAIL), and somewhere between 500-1,000 in Chicago–if reports from the organizers are to be believed.

Perhaps most hilarious is the 250-person turnout in Houston which was said to be

pretty good turn-out considering the livestock show barbeque cook-off in Reliant Park was a competitor.

When the choice is between revolution and chargrilled cow, and people plump for the cow, you know the nation’s not quite ready to storm the White House just yet.

It’s also very hard to join a revolution when you’re laughing your ass off at the erstwhile revolutionaries (forgive me for filching the whole thing, Digby):

Courtesy of Dave Weigel, here’s the scene from today’s wingnut populist uprising in DC:

They really don’t know, do they?*

Apparently not.

If you’re not already on the floor in tears of mirth, prepare to be so:

Recently, I’ve come under editorial attack for my interest in the sexual practice known as teabagging. Before I address the specific calumnities tossed my way by jealous hacks, let me say that if a man enjoys lowering his scrotum into his partner’s mouth, and enjoys having his partner suck on one testicle, then the other, and then, if possible, both testicles at once, followed by a judicious application of the tongue to the base of the scrotum, sometimes accompanied by a gentle stroking of the penis, then I say that man should be granted his fun, and should be permitted to look for other teabag afficionados however and wherever he can. No one can disagree with me on that point.

So, uh, yeah. Thanks for the offer, my conservative countrymen, but I’ll pass.

The deeper irony here? Since conservatives consume so much more internet porn than liberals, there had to have been at least a few people at each gathering who knew exactly why those signs were an incredibly poor choice of slogan. And yet, due to the nature of conservative gatherings, those in the know wouldn’t have been able to say a damned word, lest they admit they’d been looking at dirty pictures and thus incur the wrath of their fellow hypocrites.

Awesome.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

News too funny not to lead with:

From the File of Things That Really Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone Who’s Been Paying Attention to American Culture, we have this:

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

“When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different,” says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

You’ll love the state that comes in at #1. Hypocrisy runs rampant, doesn’t it just?

Want more hypocrisy? You know there’s plenty. How about some fiscal responsibility hypocrisy?

This is one of those strange stories in which Democrats want to spend less money and make a federal system more efficient, and conservatives are livid.

The situation is pretty straightforward. When Clinton was elected, the student-loan system was burdened by a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. Higher-ed students would get a loan from a private lender, but it was effectively a no-risk system — the federal government would guarantee the loan in the event of default. The industry was getting government subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. Clinton wanted to streamline the process and make it cost less — the government would make the loan, cut out the middleman, and save billions.

Conservatives and loan industry lobbyists went nuts, forcing Clinton to backtrack. The eventual compromise led to two types of student loans — direct loans and guaranteed loans. Colleges were allowed to choose the system they preferred. (They preferred the direct loans until lenders started bribing college-loan administrators.)

Sixteen years later, the Obama administration wants to save $4 billion a year, end subsidies to lenders, and make the process more efficient. The White House and Department of Education have apparently come to the conclusion that there’s no point in laundering loans through lenders, who make a tidy profit, for no reason.

And once again, conservatives are livid.

This is why I ceased listening to their blather about government spending, responsibility, etc. etc. a long damned time ago. They’re as hypocritical over government spending as they are over porn, not to mention corrupt as hell.

More news that shouldn’t shock anyone with a functioning brain: Tom Delay is still a dumbshit:

Just days before the Inauguration, Rush Limbaugh famously declared, “I hope [Obama] fails.” Since then, some conservatives have been hesitant to embrace this view. Pat Robertson said, “That was a terrible thing to say.” “Anybody who wants him to fail is an idiot,” said Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC). Responding to Sanford, Limbaugh reiterated his position yesterday, saying, the “hell we don’t” want Obama to fail.

One of those “idiots” adopting Limbaugh’s stance is former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX). In an interview with ThinkProgress at CPAC today, we asked DeLay whether he agrees with Limbaugh’s statements. DeLay said Limbaugh was “exactly” right to root for Obama’s failure:

TP: Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh that we shouldn’t hope for President Obama to succeed?

DELAY: Well, exactly right. I don’t want this for our nation. That’s for sure.

I don’t think Cons are hoping Obama will fail because they genuinely think they have better ideas. They know they don’t have better ideas. But bad ideas are the only ideas they have, and they know that if the American public gets a taste of peace, prosperity and progressive living, they’ll never vote for Cons ever again. Who’s going to go back to eating shit sandwiches when you’ve enjoyed steak? Well, there’s a few swing voters who are that stupid, but not enough to help the Cons. Thus, the Cons really, really need Obama to fail. And they’re making assclowns of themselves rooting for it.

I’ll be very happy to remind undecided voters just who didn’t want them fed, sheltered and employed come next election. It’ll make canvassing fun.

It would be even more fun if I could go canvass in one of the states whose governors are grandstanding jackasses:

I guess the Republican governors are counting on their residents becoming so poor, they won’t have TVs and so they won’t find out what they’re missing in other states? I really don’t see the point of playing such heartless games with peoples’ lives:

For people like Henry Kight, 59, of Austin, Tex., the possibility that the money might be turned down is a deeply personal issue.

Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.

Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.

[snip]

Mr. Kight and other unemployed workers said they were incensed to learn they were living in one of a handful of states — many of them among the poorest in the nation — that might not provide the expanded benefits.

“It just seems unreasonable,” Mr. Kight said, “that when people probably need the help the most, that because of partisan activity, or partisan feelings, against the current new administration, that Perry is willing to sacrifice the lives of so many Texans that have been out of work in the last year.”

He was referring to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who has said he may decline the extra money rather than change state policy.

Who woulda thunk unemployed people might be a tad upset with governors who refuse the money that might help them survive this recession? Shocking, I know. I have a feeling some of those states may be bluing up in a hurry.

Of course, at the rate the Cons are going, every state’s going to be trending a bit more blue:

For GOP lawmakers anxious to push back against the Obama administration’s agenda, the answer isn’t to engage in a debate over the role of government. Rather, the Republicans have decided the way to win the broader policy debate is to find individual spending proposals that sound funny.

The strategy hasn’t been especially effective. The money for marsh-mouse preservation turned out to be a lie. The money linking Vegas to Disneyland by way of high-speed rail was also non-existent. The volcano-monitoring program turned out to be a pretty good idea.

But now they’ve got a new one. Republicans, Fox News, the New York Post, and Drudge have found a $200,000 provision in the omnibus spending package for “tattoo removal.” How can anyone defend that?

It’s actually pretty easy to defend. Greg Sargent looked into it.

[A] little reporting reveals that that this “tattoo removal” program is an anti-crime program in the San Fernando Valley that re-integrates reformed gang members and makes it easier for them to find jobs. Two Los Angeles law enforcement officials I just spoke to — one who identified himself as a “conservative Republican” — swore by the program for reducing crime and saving lives.

The chief of San Fernando Police Department told Greg that the program is “important” and “reduces attacks.” A local probation officer added, “This program is one of the best life-saving and life-changing programs out here. I am about as right wing a conservative as you would ever find.”

I’m going to have to start making a list of questions. We’ve already got a start with “Why do Cons hate D.C.?” Now we’ve got “Why don’t Cons want to reduce crime and save lives?” By the time the next election rolls around, we should have a pretty good list going.

Does anybody know where I can find a fifty-foot scroll? Preferrably one that unrolls dramatically…

Friday Favorite Childhood Cartoons

My supervisor has taken to announcing his lunch break with cartoons. Since we’re roughly the same age, our tastes coincide. It’s sad that the highlight of my work day is seeing what cartoon he’s hyping next, but at work, you must take whatever nuggets of joy you can find.

He’s reminded me of those halcyon days of childhood, when I used to drag my arse out of bed at five or six a.m. just so I wouldn’t miss my favorite show. Take a trip down Memory Lane with me, why don’t you.

Thundercats. Hands-down favorite cartoon evah. I wanted to be Cheetara when I grew up. Everything about this cartoon was awesome, from the characters to the stories to the theme music. Not to mention the logo – whoever designed it was a sheer genius.

There’s been talk of a movie in the works. I generally despise live-action – I’m a purist that way – but a fan put together a trailer, and damn if it doesn’t look spectacular. I hope the producers are paying attention. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

They should just hire this guy to do the film. Seriously.


He-Man. Okay, fine, yes, I’ll admit it – She-Ra, too.

But I thought that He-Man had a much better transformation. There’s no competition between “I have the power!” and “I am She-ra!” But She-Ra kicked He-Man’s ass as far as stunts went. She almost inspired me to become a gymnast.

But Battlecat kicks Swift Wind‘s ass. Sorry to say. I like unicorns a lot, mind you, but that character was lame.

Almost as lame as He-Man’s hairdo. Almost.

Transformers. Oh, yeah. Oh, hell yeah. One of the greatest shows of all time, that was. Although reality never quite matched up to the fantasy – I spent a good portion of my childhood lamenting that my Transformers action figures couldn’t transform as fast as in the show, and they didn’t make that awesome Transformer noise. I loved that sound!

Optimus Prime was my hero and role-model. He showed that kindness and compassion didn’t make you a weak sister. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried like a baby when he died.

Never saw the movie. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sometimes, you just have to keep the original enshrined in your mind, whole and complete, perfect in itself. Complete with cheesy 80s electronic music.

You’re probably getting the idea that I was a total tomboy as a kid. Yepper. Oh, I had my girlie moments, but for the most part, I watched the boys’ cartoons and played with boys’ toys, and fuck that froufy shit. Didn’t watch Care Bears or Rainbow Brite. Didn’t sigh over the sparkly fairy fantasies. But there were a couple cartoons in my pantheon that weren’t all about rivets and battle.

Scooby-Doo. You knew that was coming, right? I mean, is there anyone who doesn’t love Scooby-Doo? This one ran every afternoon after school, and I’d get pissed if the bus was late. It didn’t matter how many times I’d seen an episode – I never wanted to miss a minute. I of course wanted a dog just like Scooby. And I became known as the Scooby-Dooby-Doo girl at school because I’d sing the theme song on the swings.

The show may have inspired my brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a detective, too.

Shaggy is the official mascot of me and my best friend. We used to hang out with a guy who thought he was Fred – liked to get us into crazy situations in a spirit of investigative adventure. We were always pulling a Shaggy on him: “That’s a great plan, Fred. There’s just one problem – I ain’t doing it.” Shaggy taught me the value of just saying no. Ironic, eh?


And, of course, the Smurfs. I don’t really want to talk about it. But I’ll admit that this is the show that dragged my sorry arse out of bed so early on Saturday mornings.

Besides. Without the Smurfs, we wouldn’t have had this awesomely wrong exchange in Twisted Toyfare Theatre #12 (paraphrasing from memory):

Mego Spidey: “Are you really the only girl?”

Smurfette: “Yeah. And for twenty bucks, I’ll be your only girl, too.”

So wrong it’s right.

Weigh in, my darlings. What cartoons kept you glued to the tube as kiddies?

Why Do the Cons Hate D.C.?

This is rich:

The residents of the District of Columbia pay federal taxes, but have no voice in Congress. A measure is finally near passage that would, at long last, give D.C. a vote in the House of Representatives.

But before that happens, Senate Republicans want to ignore their professed principles and tinker a bit with the city’s governance.

Opponents of a bill that would award the District its first seat in the House of Representatives fought back yesterday with a blitz of amendments in the Senate, including one to repeal the city’s gun-control laws that appeared to have significant support. [...]

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) said he was introducing the amendment [to undo the city's gun laws] because the D.C. Council “has continued to enact onerous and unconstitutional firearms regulations” despite the Supreme Court decision last year overturning the city’s ban on handguns.

[snip]

Think about that. A lawmaker from Nevada will be gracious enough to let 600,000 American taxpayers have a vote in the House, but only if he approves of their local gun-control laws.

This is absurd.

Indeed. And, even with that obnoxious amendment, even with all their yawping about freedom and rights and all that rot, the Cons voted overwhelmingly against representation for D.C.:

Senate approved a bill this afternoon to give D.C. a vote in the House. It passed 61 to 37, and 36 of the Senate’s 41 Republicans voted against it.

Why do the Dems in Congress bother to give these obstructionist fuckwits a single thing they want? This is like making a bargain with a bully – you get him to promise not to take your lunch money if you give him your favorite action figure, and then after he gets the action figure, he takes your lunch money anyway. That’s exactly how the Cons are acting.

It’ll be up to the House to kick the bully in the nads and take back both lunch money and action figure:

The gun amendement makes the Senate’s D.C. Vote legislation significantly different from a companion bill in the House, which is expected to face a floor vote next week.

Differences between the two bills would have to be worked out in negotiations between the two chambers. Proponents of the bill said they hoped the gun language could be removed during those talks.

[snip]

“The District of Columbia leadership is fully united in its opposition to unwarranted amendments that would dramatically damage the District’s carefully revised gun law and expose the District to great harm through the undoing of its laws,” D.C. Council President Vincent C. Gray and Council Member Phil Mendelson, chairman of the council’s public-safety commission, said in a letter to Congress released yesterday.

In a statement after the Senate’s vote, Ilir Zherka, executive director of D.C. Vote, a lobbying group, said the city has passed a “significant hurdle in our fight for full democracy for DC residents.”

But he added of the gun amendment: “If anything, this amendment has strengthened our resolve to continue to fight for the rights of Washingtonians. Congress repeatedly treats the District as a testing ground for flawed, dangerous legislation. This has to stop – and we’ll keep fighting to ensure that the bill signed into law is not tainted by this amendment.”

I imagine the taint can be cleansed. Especially now that Dems understand that including it doesn’t win Con votes.

We’re Coming for You

That’s right.

No more free lunch for incumbents. No more job security. No more helpless handwringing as you Blue Dogs and spineless gits and corporate bitches get drunk on your own power. There will now be consequences for your actions:

Some of the most prominent names in progressive politics launched a major new organization on Thursday dedicated to pinpointing and aiding primary challenges against incumbent Democrats who are viewed as acting against their constituents’ interests.

Accountability Now PAC will officially be based in Washington D.C., though its influence is designed to be felt in congressional districts across the country. The group will adopt an aggressive approach to pushing the Democratic Party in a progressive direction; it will actively target, raise funds, poll and campaign for primary challengers to members who are either ethically or politically out-of-touch with their voters. The goal, officials with the organization say, is to start with 25 potential races and dwindle it down to eight or 10; ultimately spending hundreds of thousands on elections that usually wouldn’t be touched.

[snip]

It is a concept bound — indeed, designed — to ruffle the feathers of powerful figures in Washington, in part because the names behind it are now institutions themselves. With $500,000 currently in the bank, Accountability Now will be aided, in varying forms, by groups such as MoveOn, SEIU, Color of Change, Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC. FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher and Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald will serve in advisory roles, while Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos will conduct polling, with analytical help from 538.com’s Nate Silver.

This has been in the works since that FISA fuckery in June. Remember that time? Our vaunted political rulers lined up with Bush and voted an appreciable chunk of our Constitution away. Strange Bedfellows arose out of our anger and disgust, and morphed into Accountability Now PAC. While we weren’t able to defeat Blue Dogs Chris Carney and John Burrows, we surely gave them the shock of their young political lives. And you may have noticed that Steny Hoyer has all of a sudden discovered that it may be a good idea to sound like a Democrat again. All that, before the PAC was even fully functional.

2010’s gonna be interesting, especially for Dems who don’t serve their constituents’ interests.

And, lest you think this is just a far-left witch hunt borrowing a page from the Cons, keep this in mind:

In a conversation with the Huffington Post, Hauser, Hamsher and Greenwald said that the process by which targeted incumbents were chosen would not constitute an ideological litmus test. The goal, they noted, was simply to follow the numbers: figure out which Members were casting votes that were out of tune, philosophically speaking, with their constituent’s public opinion readings.

Granted, we’d love more progressives. But following the numbers means that it’s truly the will of the people that decides. If that means we don’t end up with an ultra-progressive challenger, so be it. Incumbents who aren’t incurring their constituents’ wrath likely have nothing to fear – much. Unless, of course, they pull another stunt like trying to immunize corporations for illegal spying, in which case I wouldn’t count on polling data to save their hides.

And if they were planning to stand in the way of broadly popular initiatives, they’re fucked:

By empowering the grassroots, Accountability Now will help create the political space needed to enable President Obama to make good on the many progressive policies he campaigned on – such as getting out of Iraq, ensuring access to affordable health care for every man, woman and child, restoring our constitutional liberties and ending torture.
In 2007, grassroots activists banded together to oust Al Wynn out of office, and it shook House Democrats to their core. Similarly, we learned in 2006 how even a primary challenge that does not win could change behavior, as Jane Harman has been more accountable to the concerns of her constituents after a tough primary race against Marcy Winograd.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this impacts the Washington old-incumbents’ club. As Accountability Now notes, “nothing focuses the mind of a politician on listening to citizens better than a primary.”

Change is coming. About damned time.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Kristol’s advice to Cons: “I don’t care why you do it, just obstruct!”

In his inaugural column for the print edition of the Washington Post, Bill Kristol offers some advice for his Republican brethren: obstruct as much as humanly possible.


…Obama’s aim is not merely to “revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.” … Conservatives and Republicans will disapprove of this effort. They will oppose it. Can they do so effectively?

Perhaps — if they can find reasons to obstruct and delay. They should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can’t allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965. Slow down the policy train. Insist on a real and lengthy debate. Conservatives can’t win politically right now. But they can raise doubts…. Only if this happens will conservatives be able to get a hearing for their (compelling, in my view) arguments against big-government, liberal-nanny-state social engineering — and for their preferred alternatives.

It seems like an odd thing for Kristol to put in writing. Generally, Republicans say they want to at least try to have a constructive role in public policy. Kristol counsels the opposite — Obama is poised to “make history,” so Republicans need to “obstruct and delay.” The GOP, Kristol insists, needs to “find reasons” to do. Obstruct for obstruction’s sake, and figure out the rationale later.

I’m sure that sounds like a clever plan to the current fuckwits in Washington, but I don’t think it’s going to have quite the effect they might hope. Obstructing one of the most popular presidents evah is probably going to haunt them just a wee bit. 2010’s looking better all the time.

2012, alas, may not be as entertaining as we’d hoped:

One Republican who isn’t heeding Limbaugh’s warnings is the anti-immigrant zealot and former congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO). In an interview with ThinkProgress at the CPAC conference today, Tancredo declared that Jindal’s speech marks the end of his presidential ambitions:


TP: [Jindal] has gotten some flack for his performance on the response to Obama. I’m curious what your thoughts on it was.

TANCREDO: Great content. Lousy delivery. And I’m sorry to say this because I like him a lot. I served with him. Good guy. Solid guy. But I think that performance would very well have put the last nail in the coffin for him, for running for president. Mostly because what we are desperately looking for today in this party is a leader. Bobby Jindal is a great intellect, but his capacity to lead just is, his bearing, is not there. At least, it wasn’t there.

Paging Joe the Plumber… oh, wait, his stock isn’t rising, either:

On the homepage of the Politico right now, there’s a headline that reads, “Joe laughs at Obama speech,” above a picture of Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher. The headline leads to a story — and video — in which we learn the former campaign prop didn’t care for President Obama’s address to Congress this week.

Apparently, the fact that Wurzelbacher “did not have many nice things to say about Obama’s speech” is newsworthy.

It’s worth noting, though, that while Wurzelbacher remains important in some circles, his public “following” appears to be dwindling.

Joe the Plumber (no longer a plumber; first name actually Samuel) popped into [Washington, D.C.] yesterday evening to sell his new book and to remind people that he’s still a plain and simple guy. Mission accomplished, on at least one of his missions.

About 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement of a downtown Border’s bookstore to hear Joe speak. Joe addressed them from behind a lectern and with a microphone, but that seemed unnecessarily formal.

At least a few of the 11 didn’t actually show up for Wurzelbacher, but were in the store anyway. One was reading “Dreams From My Father” upstairs and thought it was an amusing coincidence that “Joe the Plumber” was in Borders at the time.

That’s just pathetic. What’s Sarah Palin going to do for running mates and Cabinet officials if these two are anathema? What happens to all that popcorn we’d stockpiled?

Ah, well. I’m sure the Cons will find some way to entertain us. They’ve not missed a trick yet:

In the budget released today, the Obama administration announced that it would end the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, as well as shut off loopholes that effectively eviscerate corporate tax revenues, all in an effort to fuel a robust domestic agenda and start lowering the deficit.

Predictably, the right wing is up in arms over the small tax increase for the richest businesses and families. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) complained to a friendly crowd at CNBC this morning that Obama’s tax increases would harm the economy, and insisted the best way to raise revenue is to cut taxes:


HUTCHISON: I think we get revenue the way we’ve done it in the past that has been so successful in the past and that is tax cuts…Every major tax cut we’ve had in history has created more revenue.

[snip]

The notion that cutting taxes somehow — magically — increases government revenues is a myth that won’t die. “The claim that tax cuts pay for themselves…is contradicted by the historical record,” reported the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which showed that revenues grew twice as fast in the 1990s, when taxes were raised, than in the 1980s, when taxes were cut. FactCheck.org called a claim like Hutchison’s
“highly misleading” and stated the obvious fact that “we can’t have
both lower taxes and fatter government coffers.”
You know, these tax cut arguments hold about the same water as an employer telling employees they’ll make more money if their salary’s cut. Which arguments hold about the same amount of water as a collander does.

If Sarah Palin wants a truly awesome running mate, though, she won’t want Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who is merely average on the batshit insanity scale. No, she’ll want to turn to someone else, someone who rails against imaginary legislation, someone who makes less sense than she does… I have just the one:

So, to review, the Senate today approved an amendment to a bill about D.C. voting rights prohibiting the FCC from bringing back an old broadcast policy that the FCC wasn’t considering and which the Obama administration does not support. Congress at its finest.

But since it passed overwhelmingly, at least we won’t have to hear the right complain about this anymore, right? If only it were that simple. The measure would still have to be approved by the House, which isn’t interested in holding a vote.

In response to the DeMint/Thune measure, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) proposed “a rival amendment that he said essentially reaffirmed existing law, which calls for the FCC to encourage diverse media ownership.” It passed 57 to 41. Despite the fact that Durbin’s measure simply re-stated current law, every Republican in the Senate voted against it.

DeMint told reporters that Democratic efforts to legally encourage diverse media ownership open a “back door to censorship.”

I have no idea what DeMint is talking about. Come to think of it, neither does he.

My darlings, the Con party still offers hope. They may have lost two of their best idiots, but they’ve got a plethora waiting in the wings. We shall be able to enjoy our popcorn in 2012 after all.