Posts tagged ‘Michele Bachmann’
With the first Obama-Romney debate in the can even the calmest Obama supporter is worried about the future. Andrew Sullivan was downright apoplectic. Bob Herbert seemed just plain angry: The president let his people down. And if he’s capable of doing that in an election that is clearly so important, it means he’s capable of doing it again if he wins a second term.
Come November 6, whether Obama wins or loses, the far more important issue will be what kind of Congress we will be looking at. It is unlikely that the House will return to Democrat control but we can at least hope to be rid of a few nutjobs. We cannot afford to lose the Senate, which would guarantee more gridlock in a second Obama term or give Mitt Romney carte blanche to take us back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet.
So, on election night I’ll be keeping one eye on the POTUS race and the other on the following legislative battles:
Allen West: This certifiably loony Congressman from Florida must be given his walking papers. Back when he was running he famously claimed he had a higher security clearance than the POTUS. Then, more recently he channeled Joseph McCarthy, claiming that a very precise margin of Democrats were card carrying Communists.
I wrote more about crazy Allen back in the day.
Michele Bachmann: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews put Minnesota’s Bachmann on the map when she channeled her inner Joseph McCarthy on “Hardball” saying that the media should investigate which of her peers in Congress were “anti-American”.
More recently she made baseless accusations against a devoted public servant, Huma Abedin because of supposed family associations to the Muslim Brotherhood. Even conservatives such as John McCain could not stomach this. Despite her record as paranoid crackpot, I have a small place in my heart for Michele. During a Presidential campaign event, a lesbian used her child as a prop to humiliate Bachmann. Bachmann’s behavior toward the child was kind and gracious. Then during her appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show, the house band played “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as Bachmann came on stage, no doubt fully knowing that Bachmann would not be in on the “joke”. Fallon later apologized. I felt very bad for Bachmann in both these instances and I was left with the impression that’s she’s well meaning, albeit nutty as a fruitcake. She even seemed to tamp down the crazy a bit during her bid for President. Still, Michele needs to go.
Todd Akin: Not content to be a knuckle dragging Neanderthal in the House of Representatives, Todd decided to run against Claire McCaskill for a Senate seat from Missouri. As we all know by now, Todd thinks that when a woman is REALLY raped (or in his words the rape is “legitimate”) the woman’s body has special powers to fight off rapist sperm and not get pregnant. Do I really need to say any more?
Joe Walsh: No, not the former member of the Eagles. This is Illinois’s GOP contribution to the House of Representatives. Joe is an over caffienated gaffe machine who recently said that his opponent Tammy Duckworth was talking too much about her military service. We won’t go into the fact that Tammy left a few limbs behind while serving her country. We also won’t discuss that Joe is behind on child support.
George Allen: More proof that there is always a second act in American politics (see Bill Clinton), George ran against Jim Webb for Senate in 2006 and while on the campaign trail referred to a brown skinned Webb staffer as “Macaca“. I’m not sure anyone ever figured out exactly what the heck George was talking about other than that it seemed ethnically antagonistic and ultimately cost George the election. Well, he’s baaaaaaaaaaaack and trying to defeat former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine for a seat in the Senate. Let’s hope Kaine prevails.
Cliff Stearns, Florida
Mike Coffman, Colorado
Vicky Hartzler, Missouri
Anyone supporting this basically racist theory that Obama is not an American deserves a kick out the nearest Capitol exit door.
We may not be able to return Obama to the White House but perhaps we can return some sanity to the House and Senate. Who are your choices for the crazies who must go?
The Myth of Reagan
Sometimes the legend is way more powerful than the man behind it. The hero of conservatism is Ronald Reagan, President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Every cockeyed idea coming out of the GOP lately supposedly has Reagan’s mark of approval all over it. That’s why it was refreshing to see ThinkProgress remind us that Reagan was just as guilty of “class warfare” as our current president.
In fact, not only did Reagan condemn under-taxation of the rich, he actually raised taxes several times during his administration (albeit after cutting them massively at the beginning). The truth is that the Ronald Reagan of the 80′s could not get nominated by today’s GOP. The fact that they re-imagine Reagan to justify their current policies is completely consistent with a party that lives in an alternate reality.
Now Can She Please Just Go Away?
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States.
You have to hand it to Sarah Palin. Unlike Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, at least Sarah listens to God. You see, God is the ultimate political strategist and there is no way He advised Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann to run for President. At least Sarah took the Almighty’s advice. Now the question remains what lies ahead? In an interview with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren, Sarah discussed and dismissed the possibility that she might be politically dead with this decision. I think she should think again. Now that the long tease is over, Palin is irrelevant. The only reason there was to tolerate her word salad foolishness was the possibility she might make headlines with a Presidential run. With that possibility gone, Sarah is now a truly powerless ditz.
If you need proof, just look at the interview with Van Susteren. Greta started the interview not by discussing Sarah’s decision but by asking her what she thought of Apple genius Steve Jobs’ untimely death. In effect, Greta was saying, “before we talk about the end of your footnote to history, let’s discuss some consequential news.”
While I hope Ms. Palin simply returns to Alaska to be with her family, it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of how much we see her on Fox News, ultimately she will end up being nothing more than the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.
Photo credit: Ronald Reagan via Wikipedia
Where T-Paw Went Wrong
It’s been a week since Tim Pawlenty (known in the Republican hood as T-Paw) withdrew from the GOP Presidential race. There hasn’t been a heck of a lot of real analysis on his withdrawal. Let’s face it. Watching Pawlenty was a lot like watching paint dry. He was hardly a media darling. Still I’m surprised that I haven’t seen a good post-mortem on his campaign.
Maybe I just don’t understand GOP politics but I have the prescription that would still have Pawlenty in the race today. Very simply, target the right demographic. For reasons that totally befuddle me, Pawlenty decided to take on Michele Bachmann and go after her voting block. It doesn’t take a Sigmund Freud to figure out that Pawlenty with his vanilla demeanor was a rival of Mitt Romney, not Michele Bachmann. To put it a bit differently, there are two factions of GOP candidates this season, the sensible and to varying degrees, the wild-ass crazy. Pawlenty, no matter how much he wanted to be the bad boy you don’t bring home to Mama, was in the sensible league with Romney and Huntsman. Pawlenty should have saved his money, like Mitt did, and waited for the right opportunity. Instead, he blew his entire chest on Iowa and to make matters worse, blew it on the Ames Straw Poll which everyone now knows is NO predictor of future victory.
But then, I’m not really sorry to see Tim go. Tim is, in a word, a punk. Call me old-fashioned but I find something wrong with a candidate who shrinks away from attacking the acknowledged front-runner (Romney) and instead goes full throttle against the only woman in the race. Tim’s lucky he ran out of money because if he hadn’t, he would eventually have had to man-up. I’m not sure T-Paw had the testosterone to run the race to the end.
Why I’m Through with Change.org
For over a year now, I’ve subscribed to e-mails from Change.org. Like a typical liberal, I was moved by the organization’s commitment to social justice. I didn’t keep track but I’m guessing I signed an online petition or two over the past few months. I must admit, as the months wore on, their e-mails didn’t so much move me to social indignation but rather depressed the heck out of me. I also had the sneaking suspicion that some of the folks for whom Change.org advocated didn’t really deserve the advocacy. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back came in the form of an article on the makers of “Sesame Street”, The Sesame Workshop (known as the Children’s Television Workshop back when I was a kid).
Apparently the folks at Sesame Workshop had to release a statement saying that they would not have the characters Bert and Ernie get married. Yes, you read that right. Some gang of absolute idiots had petitioned Sesame Workshop to have Bert and Ernie get married. Change.org facilitated the petition. The simple translation of Sesame Workshop’s very polite statement was “for goodness sake, these are PUPPETS! What the hell is wrong with you?”
Now apparently Change.org and the authors of the petition felt that in a time of high suicide rates among gay youngsters, having Bert and Ernie, who have roomed since they came on the scene in 1969, get married would send a message that being gay is ok. It would be in the vein of the “It Gets Better” campaign.
I propose that one way to make “it get better” is stop sexualizing children. I don’t doubt that gender preference is deeply ingrained and very possibly innate. That does not mean that such a preference needs to manifest between the ages of two and four (the demographic of “Sesame Street”). The notion that a four-year old is homosexual, or heterosexual for that matter, is to my mind patently ridiculous. The Sesame Workshop has stated that the friendship between Bert and Ernie teaches kids that very different kinds of people can be friends. That is sufficient in teaching tolerance to kids. If by some wild stretch of the imagination little Johnny says to his Mommy “I want to kiss a boy but I don’t think anyone will like me if I do”, Mommy can always say “people can still like you if you’re different. Look at Bert and Ernie. They’re different. They look different. They like different kinds of things. And they like each other a lot.” This lesson in tolerance can be given without having to tell a four-year old that Bert sticks his pee-pee in Ernie’s bum-bum.
Before everyone accuses me of being a homophobe, let me be perfectly clear. I believe consenting adults can do whatever the heck they want with each other and it’s nobody’s business but theirs. I also believe that two people who love each other, with a sexual component, should be allowed to marry in a civil ceremony if they so please, regardless of gender. However I draw the line at how we introduce children to sexual concepts. The notion of teaching a four-year old that Bert and Ernie are gay (and all that goes along with that) gets me as annoyed as the constant heterosexualization of minors that gets portrayed on the Disney Channel on a regular basis. Our kids should be worried about reading, writing and arithmetic and how to be kind and compassionate to their fellow human beings. They should not have to be worried about what to do with their penises and vaginas. Why can’t we let a four-year old be a four-year old? They’ll have plenty of opportunity to wrestle with sexual urges when they hit puberty.
Sometimes liberals have trouble picking their battles. Now that Change.org has shown such bad judgment in trying to turn a wonderful kid’s show into an episode of Dr. Ruth, they can continue their battles without me.
The GOP Slate
OK, let’s be honest, the first GOP candidate debate on Fox about a month ago was a joke. It included at least one candidate, Gary Johnson, who we know will never be President of the United States (Gary who?) and it did not include some heavy hitters, namely Romney and Gingrich through no fault of Fox but just bad timing. So let’s ignore that debacle and turn our attention toward the real first GOP candidate debate carried on CNN last Monday. The debate itself was clumsy with “average Americans” asking the questions. We don’t need average Americans who have no TV presence asking questions. I would have preferred a panel of journalists but then let’s not forget, this is the Palin Era where journalists are to be bypassed. The opening statements were also gag-worthy as each candidate tried to one-up the other on how much successful intercourse they’d had: “I’m the father of three”, “I’m the mother of five and foster-mother of 630″. Finally there were the series of “this or that” questions designed to lighten the mood and make the candidates more human. I was fully prepared for the moderator, John King to ask Herman Cain “Tupac or Biggie?”
Here is my quick review of the roster:
Rick Santorum: One word — Google. Really. Can any man whose last name ranks first on Google as the definition of “The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex” expect to one day be President of the United States? Gay activist Dan Savage’s evil bit of brilliance in launching a contest to concoct a gay-oriented definition for Rick’s last name permanently makes him a punchline. I will give Santorum credit, however for consistency. He is against abortion even in the case of rape and incest. As I’ve written before, this is the ONLY pro-life stance that has any integrity. As for Rick’s performance in the debate, nothing newsworthy. Just another “red-blooded American” appealing to the far right base.
Michele Bachmann: It looks like I must abandon my wait for Bachmann’s fall. The Congresswoman from Minnesota just keeps rising and her debate performance, while not brilliant, was hardly the dumb-ass display we might have expected from someone who thinks Lexington-Concord took place in New Hampshire and our founding fathers ended slavery. One could see in this performance a cheer leader for the Tea Party with a degree of gravitas missing from her most closely aligned associate, Sarah Palin. In this sexist world of ours, Palin is almost too pretty. You, and I mean you Rich Lowry, want to bed Palin. But while Bachmann is a reasonably attractive woman, when you look at her you think of a mother, not a lover and you see someone who truly wants to be relevant. You can imagine Bachmann bouncing back from gaffes by doing a bit of study to avoid them in the future. Her best moment was when she referred to Obama as “someone far more eloquent than I” and then hanged him on his own words. I cannot believe I’m saying this but we need to keep our eye on Bachmann.
Newt Gingrich: Fresh from his campaign staff quitting en masse, Newt used the debate to lecture America in his usual nonsensical professorial way. Most telling was his intro where he departed from the pattern of very personal introductions (see reference to successful procreation above) and chose instead to open with a policy statement. This makes sense since Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer with no moral standing. Like Santorum, but for different reasons, Newt is now a punchline. Time to move on.
Mitt Romney: Making the first debate appearance of his campaign, Romney acquitted himself well. Most pundits gave the night to him with Bachmann a close second. I am probably in the minority on this but I think Romney has made a good distinction between what he did in Massachusetts and what Obama has done on a federal level with health care reform. To me the strongest part of his argument is that dealing with health care should not be a federal responsibility, but should rest with the States. This makes anything he did in Massachusetts his prerogative. I also got a kick out of his assertion that Obama never called him to consult on HCR. If only Obama had called Romney, “Obamacare” might have gone down better! Sadly though, Mitt still looks like Michael Scott from NBC’s “The Office”, that boss who wants so desperately to fit in with his underlings and fails miserably. Pundits have said, he reminds you of the dude who laid you off yesterday.
Tim Pawlenty: Yes there are those who want to give him the rap accolade T-Paw but I simply call him “Punk Ass Beeyotch” (the Notorious P.A.B.). Just a day earlier on Fox News he coined the devastating term “Obamneycare” forever tying Mitt Romney to Barack Obama. When given the opportunity to hammer home his assault with Romney standing next to him, Pawlenty showed us the kind of leadership we can expect in the White House — he punted. I think Romney is a bit taller than Tim and maybe could have kicked his ass. Maybe that was too intimidating? Imagine President Pawlenty talking smack about Ahmadinejad and then entering into negotiations with him where P.A.B. capitulates on everything. The truth is Tim is a wimpy soft-spoken man who does his best to fake tough and fails. The debate only confirmed what I already thought … Pawlenty is a non-starter.
Ron Paul: I’m sorry but despite his racist past, I cannot resist watching Ron Paul in a debate. Whether it’s telling the truth about the war on drugs or on our wars in general, Paul is always a refreshing breath of air. He is the only candidate who actually suggests concrete policy changes that are truly radical, that take us in a new direction. And of course, America being what it is, he will never get elected talking like that.
Herman Cain: Normally I’d launch into a racially charged diatribe about the only black candidate being placed at the far right of the assembled candidates, physically marginalized from the get-go but it does not matter where you place Cain on the stage, the man brings that “I know nothing about the issues” Palin appeal to the masses and it has earned him big points in most recent polls. Essentially Cain’s performance could have been matched by any one of the folks who regularly comment on this blog. He is a “regular guy” successful business man who, like Palin, uses his ignorance of politics as a badge of honor. (Of course, with Palin it’s a bizarre sort of badge to wear since she has been in politics much of her adult life.) His approach is, what have career politicians done for you lately? He made some murky remarks about not wanting Muslims to serve in his administration but he seemed to step it back a bit to make a distinction about radical Muslims. (Of course, Newt took that opportunity to double down on the Islamaphobia.) Like Bachmann, Cain seems to be willing to learn and he made attempts at specific policy prescriptions. I would not totally rule out a Cain VP slot.
In the batting cage were three people who could mix things up a bit. The will-she-won’t-she Sarah Palin is still undecided on a Presidential run and her recent SarahPAC funded vacation did nothing to clarify her intentions. I am still hoping she runs just to see her and Bachmann face off on stage! The punditocracy claims that Pawlenty’s stumble last Monday night opens the door for Texas Governor Rick Perry to enter the race. I find the idea of secessionist running for President highly amusing. And besides, look at the last President Texas gave us. Last but not least there is Jon Huntsman who will announce his run in the next few days. Huntsman is what many of my readers call a RINO. He does not pass the far right conservative litmus test. Even more interesting, he must walk that fine line of opposing Obama and defending his own employment under Obama as Chinese Ambassador. On the bright side, the dude speaks fluent Mandarin, so he isn’t a dumb-ass. On the less bright side, he opens his pre-campaign by reminding people that he was in the never-heard-of rock band Wizard while invoking images of “Easy Rider” and being stoned in the 60′s on your motor cycle. While cryptic, it sure is original. I will be watching Huntsman closely as the man who could possibly beat Obama.
The Week We Lost Our Weiner
If you see the progressives in your neighborhood dressed in black this week it is because they are in mourning. On June 16, after a three-week roller coaster ride of lies, revealing photos and high school worthy word-plays, New York Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner finally gave into mounting pressure and resigned. The circus atmosphere at his resignation speech was entirely consistent with a scandal devoid of any sense of dignity.
What emerges for me from Weinergate is one overriding thing: rank hypocrisy. Everywhere you looked during this scandal you saw a hypocrite:
The Media: The mainstream media said they desperately wanted to get to serious business and Weiner was a distraction but they kept leading their broadcasts with him. A prime suspect was Chris Matthews who declared some relief on Friday that Weiner had resigned so things like the debt ceiling could be discussed, but who with final editorial judgment over his show, decided to lead with Weiner on every show for almost two weeks.
The Democratic Party: From Nancy Pelosi to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dem’s claimed they wanted Weiner to resign so he could “heal”. We all know that is plain and utter bullcrap. They don’t give one’s rat’s ass if Weiner heals. They want their anti-GOP talking points to take center stage again and not be overshadowed by one Congressman’s proclivity for exhibitionism.
The Republican Party: The party that gave us Larry Craig and David Vitter should do only one thing when a sex scandal emerges. STFU. Enough said.
The man himself: While it is true that Weiner never played the “family values” card like so many of his Republican counterparts, he was an outspoken advocate for moral causes, health care reform most notably. While no one is perfect, it does seem to me rank hypocrisy to talk about honesty and virtue in politics and then betray everyone around you with brazenly stupid behavior that you then try to lie to get out of. The scandal makes a mockery out of one of Weiner’s finest moments when he talked about political courage.
What a terrible waste.
Washington Post political writer and frequent “This Week” panelist, George F. Will just bought himself an excommunication from the Republican party and perhaps the conservative movement as a whole. Like few of his peers, David Frum comes to mind, Will dared to speak truth about the insanity that is far right-wing politics and its damaging effect on GOP chances in 2012.
The trigger for Will’s excellent column in Sunday’s paper was damn-fool Mike Huckabee’s assertion that Obama’s fictional biography of growing up in Kenya influenced his world outlook to the detriment of the United States. Will writes:
If pessimism is not creeping on little cat’s feet into Republicans’ thinking about their 2012 presidential prospects, that is another reason for pessimism. This is because it indicates they do not understand that sensible Americans, who pay scant attention to presidential politics at this point in the electoral cycle, must nevertheless be detecting vibrations of weirdness emanating from people associated with the party.
The most recent vibrator is Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas …
Huckabee was “provoked” into his preposterous hypothesis by radio show host Steve Malzberg questioning just how much do we really know about “this guy” Obama. Will goes on to say:
Republicans should understand that when self-described conservatives such as Malzberg voice question-rants like the one above and Republicans do not recoil from them, the conservative party is indirectly injured. As it is directly when Newt Gingrich, who seems to be theatrically tiptoeing toward a presidential candidacy, speculates about Obama having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” mentality.
To the notion that Obama has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview, the sensible response is: If only. Obama’s natural habitat is as American as the nearest faculty club; he is a distillation of America’s academic mentality; he is as American as the other professor-president, Woodrow Wilson. A question for former history professor Gingrich: Why implicate Kenya?
Then Will elegantly and directly delivers the coup de grâce:
Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.
So the Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.
And to be clear, when Will references “careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates”, he is referring to Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann to name a few doozies.
Sadly, the already lost members of the far right will label George Will a traitor in much the same way they dismiss David Frum. Yet the fact remains that Will and Frum are two of too few folks on the conservative side willing to call out the loonies. It is safe to say that by November of 2012, our country will have made insufficient progress for Obama’s reelection to be a slam dunk. The one way to ensure Obama’s reelection is for the GOP to ignore the voice of George Will. Judging from the popularity of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, liberals like me are counting on Will being ignored and another four years of Barack Obama being an inevitability.
While the sixth congressional district of Minnesota may lack the intellectual fortitude to keep Michele Bachmann at home, at least the establishment in the Republican Party in Washington has the good sense to clip her wings. Last week Bachmann announced her intention to pursue a leadership position in Congress. After realizing she didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the position, she bowed out and backed the favorite Jeb Hensarling.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a favorite of conservative activists around the country, ended her campaign to join the GOP leadership late Wednesday, electing to bow out rather than face near-certain defeat in next week’s leadership elections.…key Republican figures both in and out of Congress, including Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), embraced her opponent, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.). Hensarling, like Bachmann, is an ardent conservative, but is not as well-known or as controversial. — Washington Post
While the slaughter we received last week leaves us stunned and a little depressed, we can be thankful for small victories. Keeping Bachmann out of any leadership position in Congress is just such a victory!
The Smart Get Dumb
Despite the right’s obsession with the unavailability of Barack Obama’s college records, I don’t think it is a stretch to say he is smart man. So I’m left scratching my head at the way he is handling the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A month has gone by and oil is still gushing into the Gulf, making its way around the tip of Florida. Kentucky Senatorial candidate Rand Paul said that it was un-American for Obama to criticize BP. Rand zigged when he should have zagged. The only thing inappropriate about the President’s response has been the lack of response. Everyone is avoiding comparisons to Katrina but I’m sorry folks, if this isn’t Obama’s Katrina, I don’t know what it is.
- We’re a month into this crisis and Washington is still letting BP take the lead. BP’s idea of solving the problem is to use dispersal chemicals that do nothing to clean up the mess but make it harder to actually measure the amount of oil spilled …. convenient when law suit time comes and damages need to be tied to the amount of oil spilled.
- The Minerals Management Service (MMS) under the Department of the Interior has got to be the most corrupt government department known to man. Their complete abdication of oversight is unforgivable. What should have happened by now? The department should have been dismantled by executive order with every employee thrown out on their ass. Yet from what I’ve heard, new drilling permits are being approved despite Washington’s claim that there is a moratorium on permits.
- When Obama has the choice to go to Louisiana and get down and dirty with the problem solvers, he is going to a California political fundraiser instead. While the blind loyal sheep may forgive him his pattern of poor optics, I cannot. Until Obama gets front and center on this problem, he is George W. Bush redux.
About the only satisfaction that a liberal can get out of this ham-fisted approach to problem solving is that conservatives are caught in a catch-22. Clearly private industry is incompetent at getting this problem solved. The knee-jerk reaction of the right should be to hammer Obama for lack of action. But here is the rub … this is the same bunch of people who call for minimal government because “government can’t solve problems.” So I guess, we’ve got ourselves in a real bind. The government does next to nothing productive and the problem persists. But according to our friends on the right, once the government gets involved they will screw it up anyway.
The Dumb Get Smart
One of the most brain-dead politicians in these United States showed signs of cranial activity on Monday. Michele Bachmann, the same idiot who said we should fear census takers because the census would lead to internment camps, actually exercised some restraint this week. After gloating last week to Sean Hannity about Rand Paul’s win in Kentucky, Ms. Bachmann must have taken stock of the situation post-Rand-civil-rights-fiasco and changed her tune.
“I’m not commenting on Rand Paul,” she told reporters for the Star Tribune at the State Capitol. “I’ve got to focus on my race. . .I’m not going to focus on Rand Paul.”
Unlike her Alaskan soul sister Sarah, Bachmann has figured out, at least in this instance, when to shut the heck up. I honestly didn’t think she had it in her. Kudos!
Some headlines really make you wonder whether or not you are dreaming. The latest bits of absurdity to cross my path in recent days, in no particular order:
Today Barack Obama signed another START treaty with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev. Guess what? MSNBC reports tonight that Republicans in general are opposed to the treaty. In the past, these types of arms reduction treaties passed in the Senate by margins of 98% or more. This time it might be tough to get enough Republicans to sign on to make the two thirds majority needed for ratification. It’s another example of the just-say-no strategy of the GOP but it is also complicated by a recently revealed change in our own nuclear strategy.
With the exceptions of Iran and North Korea, for example, we have pledged not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear state. This departs from our traditional approach of “all options on the table” with anyone. What it translates to by my way of thinking is that we are acknowledging the grave responsibility involved in the use of nuclear arms and we are pledging to use them only in the most dire of conflicts. We can always depend on some imbecile from the right to get the message wrong and give it a wild spin. So one half of the Bachmann Palin Overdrive suggested today that this new approach is equivalent to the kid in the school yard saying “punch me in the face, I’m not going to retaliate”. Someone desperately needs to tell the half-wit half-term Governor of Alaska that the new approach is the same as the kid in the school yard saying “punch me in the face, I’m not going to blow you away with an AK-47.” It’s called reasonable and proportionate response.
We can only hope that the Senate Republicans depart from their singular obstructionist agenda long enough to ratify this important step in controlling the use of nuclear weapons.
Dumb and Dumber in 2012
Yes gang, in Minnesota this week Fox News’ Sean Hannity broached that nightmare scenario most of us dare not contemplate. He asked an audience of unstable Minnesotans how they would feel about a Sarah Palin – Michele Bachmann ticket in 2012. Predictably, the crowd roared. Now it is well-known that Sarah is crazy like a fox (no pun intended) and the millions she’s raking in on one deal or another attest to that. Bachmann on the other hand is just plain crazy. Whether it’s investigating which members of Congress are real Americans or worrying about census takers tallying up the folks who will be put in internment camps, Michele is, as Ron Reagan put it, a few McNuggets short of a Happy Meal. One also has to wonder from Bachmann’s comments if she has as much of a crush on Palin as Rich Lowry does.
The real nightmare is … what if I’m totally wrong? What if the majority of Americans find this pair of bobble-heads sufficiently appealing to vote for them? I can’t bear to think of it further. Let’s move on.
Was the Pipe Really Worth It?
I guess no one made it clear to Qatari diplomat Mohammed al-Madadi that smoking is not allowed on domestic American flights. I would further suggest that no one made it clear to the diplomat not to behave like an arrogant prick when confronted with his non-compliance. Trying to out do Gilbert Gottfried in the obnoxious humor department, Madadi told a flight attendant that the smoke she smelled coming from the bathroom was his attempt to light his shoes on fire. Poor Mo didn’t understand that in the aftermath of Richard Reid and Umar Abdulmutallab, we don’t find jokes about setting shoes on fire particularly funny. Qatar is bringing its comedian, ehhh, diplomat back home.
Some in the Arab community are saying Madadi was profiled. I’m sorry gang but when you make a joke about setting your shoes on fire while on a plane several thousand feet above the Earth, you’re lucky not to get the stuffing beaten out of you. I don’t care where you come from.
Billy Bob, the Civil War is Over and You Lost
My understanding is that if you ask the average German about the Holocaust, he’d prefer not to discuss it and if pressed, would express shame. In fact modern-day Germany views that atrocity as a terrible stain on its history. So, could someone please tell me why the South still celebrates the Confederacy?
Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell stepped in it big time when he issued a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month and neglected to mention that minor element that brought the Confederacy into existence: slavery. Now this response did not really shock me terribly. When I visited Atlanta about 15 years ago on business, one of the first things I found on the hotel TV’s tourist channel was an advertisement for tours of plantations. No where in the advertisement did it say “join us in an examination of a shameful period in American history where Africans were kept against their will and forced to work for no wages.” On the contrary, it looked almost like visiting Frontier Land at Disney World. So I saw first hand that at least some Southerners feel no shame about their checkered past. In fact, they are still angry that they “lost” the war. A few weeks ago, Georgia Representative Paul Broun referred to the Civil War as the “Great war of Yankee aggression”.
Yup, in 2010 there are still Americans who talk about “Yankee aggression”. I’m not sure Broun ever backed off his rhetoric (he is a birther after all) but McDonnell had the good sense after a day or so to re-write the proclamation declaring slavery as a cause of the Civil War and an “evil, vicious and inhumane practice”. Ya think?
Forget Michele Bachmann’s demand that we investigate which Representatives and Senators are real Americans. Forget Liz Cheney’s desire to smoke out all those al Qaeda loving Department of Justice employees. What we really need to do in full-blown McCarthy style is to weed out the whack jobs!
Now of course, the aforementioned Bachmann is near the top of the list but insanity knows no political affiliation. The latest case is that of New York Representative Eric Massa. Massa announced he wouldn’t run for another term for health reasons, then said he was resigning because his fellow Democrats wanted to get rid of him. As it turns out he was facing an ethics investigation for inappropriate behavior with staffers. Glenn Beck smelled blood and booked Massa for a full hour in the hope of getting at some deep dark Democratic conspiracy to silence possible opposition to health care legislation. Then one of my favorite “Law and Order” plot devices was employed. Have you ever seen DA McCoy put a guy on the stand and then the guy does a complete 180 with his testimony, endangering McCoy’s chances at a conviction? Well that is exactly what happened to Beck. He put Massa “on the stand” and Massa did a complete 180, claiming that he had no one to blame for his resignation but himself. Later that night he went on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and announced that he wouldn’t answer whether or not he was gay. He just told Larry to ask his wife, his friends and his Navy buddies.
As if matters could not get worse, Josh Green of The Atlantic decided to take Massa up on his offer and interview a few of his old Navy cohorts. The verdict? Back in the Navy Massa made unwanted advances on fellow sailors.
On tonight’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”, guest host Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed comedian-cum-pundit Bill Maher who made a frightening observation. Essentially Maher said that to get elected to Congress all you have to do is memorize the right talking points and then charm the voters into electing you. You don’t have to be very smart and you can be flat-out crazy. This got me to thinking about the current mistrust of government. I have always interpreted it as a purely political position, one currently being exploited to the hilt by Republicans. But when you look at Bachmann, Grassley, Massa, Rangel and a list of others you see that this goes way beyond politics. We have a lot of very flawed people running our government. The easy answer is that as voters, we get what we deserve. Still one has to think, when one gets beyond Massa as a punchline, that this man had authority to vote on matters of grave interest to our country. This guy is clearly bonkers. How many of him are in Washington? Do we really have a problem here and if so, how in the world do we solve it?
An Unintended Consequence
Unfortunately, one of the aftershocks of the Massa fiasco that I have not yet seen in the main stream media but that I expect to see any day now, is the issue of his behavior in the Navy. This is just the kind of thing that advocates of “don’t ask don’t tell” cite as their worst nightmare. The folks interviewed by The Atlantic said they did not press charges against Massa because he was in a position of power on the ship and reporting his harassment would make waves, no pun intended. The important point to emphasize here is that heterosexual harassment is common in the military but the key difference that DADT advocates will cite is that Massa shared living quarters with at least one of the men he allegedly harassed, thereby facilitating the harassment. Then again, would DADT deter someone like Massa? Not likely. We will have to see how and if this plays out but it isn’t a good development for gay rights advocates.
Hypocrisy or Proper Representation?
Inasmuch as we’re discussing gay politicians, the case of Roy Ashburn, a State Senator from California, raises an interesting question. Ashburn has been in the closet his entire political career and voted against every pro-gay legislation that has come down the pike. When he was arrested for DUI on his way back from a gay bar, he decided to announce his sexual orientation. Faced with the seeming contradiction of his voting record he said, “I felt my duty – and I still feel this way – is to represent my constituents, not my own point of view, not my own internal conflict.” via Roy Ashburn, California State Senator, Says He’s Gay After DUI Arrest.
Is an elected representative sworn to reflect the wishes of his constituents or should his personal views play a dominant role? One of the constant debate points regarding health care reform is that our government is passing legislation that “the people” don’t want (a bogus claim but let’s run with it) and that the majority party is enforcing its sense of moral outrage on the rest of us, deciding what is best for us.
It will be interesting to see how Ashburn’s fellow Republicans handle this. Putting aside the DUI arrest which is unseemly, will the California GOP defend Ashburn based on his voting record and ignore his proclivities? Will they embrace him as a “log cabin Republican” in much the same way that the recent CPAC convention embraced GOPride, a conservative gay group?
Most importantly, is Ashburn a hypocrite or just a good legislator doing what his constituents sent him to the California Senate to do?
I’m stealing an idea from political blogger Sensico today and I’m going to review the top 5 of my blog posts for the “decade” just ending. I place “decade” in quotes because I’ve only been blogging since September of 2007. Still, here you are, the posts that have received the most “hits” since I started.
1. Obama, Racism and Inevitable Self-examination September 18, 2009: For someone who planned to write about racism very seldom, I wound up returning to the issue several times over the past year. What prompted this post was the Glenn Beck inspired September 12 Tea Party protest and specifically some of the blatantly violent and racist signs on display at that protest. I got a couple of things wrong here. First I used Jimmy Carter as a righteous source of outrage without doing sufficient research to determine that Carter’s own political career was not racially spotless. Second, I think (and I hope) that the main stream media and I both got it wrong regarding the real threat of these people. Ultimately, I think these folks are angry folks letting off steam. Every angry crowd attracts nutjobs and it is very easy to focus on them to the exclusion of the harmless. Some folks in the tea party movement have valid concerns and others are sixth grade dropouts eager to be seen on TV. Either way, I think rumors of the country’s imminent civil war were greatly exaggerated.
As a trivial side note, this article attracted someone claiming to be in one of the pictures I posted and threatening to sue me if I did not remove his photo. I complied but not before writing to tell him what a coward he was. If you’re gonna stand in public with a sign threatening violence to America, you should have the guts to be called out on it.
2. The John McCain Female Woman Haters Club July 31, 2008: This is one of my favorite posts, a combination of legitimate outrage and poking a stick in the eye of conservatives everywhere. The sad back story to this post is that it was one of the first of my articles that went through the roof on web traffic and when I examined the phenomenon more closely I discovered people were surfing for pictures of the women, in particular one of Nancy Pfotenhauer.
So here I was thinking that folks were enjoying my ridicule of self-loathing women when in fact they were probably a bunch of men in the mold of National Review’s Rich Lowry looking for GOP women to fuel their masturbatory fantasies. Oh well, I guess sex sells.
3. Another Fine Moment for Republicans September 10, 2009: September was a rough month for Obama supporters. This article was prompted by the performance of perhaps the most ignorant man in the United States House of Representatives, Joe Wilson. Not only did Joe have the unmitigated gall to call a sitting US President a liar to his face during a joint session of Congress, he wasn’t even right on the facts. The health care legislation being promoted by Obama specifically ruled out care for illegal aliens but not according to genius Joe. The facts of the incident pale in comparison to the overall phenomenon that this President is not deemed worthy of respect in even that most dignified of settings, the Congressional chamber.
Then again, the Chamber has taken some other hits this year, from Dem Representative Alan Grayson saying that the GOP wants you to die to GOP Representative John Shadegg using a baby as a political prop. It is confounding that we pay these folks’ salaries!
4. Is An Effigy No Longer Good Enough? September 24, 2009: I had to chuckle that this one made the top 5. This shoot first, ask questions later post of mine concerned the census worker who was found dead in Kentucky with the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest. The only defense I can make for this post is that I was suffering from “the country is about to be torn asunder” dementia. History (very short-term history) would prove that the dude killed himself and made it look like a murder for the insurance money. I still claim a 98% batting average on my posts (or in Obama’s words, I give myself an “A-”) but this article clearly was dead on arrival.
5. Sarah Palin Just Wants to Help October 10, 2009: This was the biggest surprise of all as I checked my traffic statistics. Usually, my cartoons are not popular but I soldier on since I have fun producing them. I can only guess that this one got lots of hits because any article about Sarah Palin will attract Googlers. Heck, I could have had a headline that said “Sarah Palin Just Farted” and I would have been guaranteed at least 200 hits. In a country that grows dumber with each passing year, Sarah Palin has become its queen.
Feminism has hit either a nadir or a zenith depending on your perspective. Now, instead of intelligent women having to fight to be heard, dumbass and/or crazy women attract huge followings. Whether it is beauty pageant contestants Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean or certifiably insane nutjobs like Michele Bachman, women are making headlines daily. You sure have come a long way baby! (I never dreamed I would love Hillary Clinton but at least she is out there proving that hard-working intelligent women can succeed gloriously in this society.)
An honorable mention:
One of my articles came in eighth in traffic hits but performed spectacularly “overseas”. I cross-post my articles to a couple of other places and on one of them, Best of The Blogs, my article Time to Impeach Barack Obama received more than 34,000 hits. The traffic was in direct proportion to the anger I felt as I wrote the post. I had put up with a lot of Obama bashing but when the Right declared it was unsafe for our school children to hear an address from their President, I very nearly blew a blood vessel.
Speaking of Obama bashing, how can I end 2009 without one more slap at the Dick, Cheney. This hateful, ignorant prick of a man lacks the dignity of a former Vice President as he verges on treason with his constant heckling of our Commander-in-Chief. A true patriot would actively (and privately) campaign for Obama to make him an advisor where he could have some influence on policy. But Dick Cheney is not a patriot. 9/11 transformed Dick Cheney from a hard-working servant of America into a paranoid wreck incapable of setting well thought out policy. One reason Dick probably hasn’t offered his services to the Obama administration is that he knows they don’t want a war criminal in their administration. Cheney is the crazed gorilla throwing his own dung at passers-by.
Sadly, conservatives who desperately need to know the truth behind Cheney’s latest criticism of Obama are too biased to watch the following video. You see, there is no doubt that MSNBC is as partisan on the left as Fox News is on the right. But there is a difference. MSNBC tells truths while Fox promulgates lies, shamelessly and repeatedly. Still, I ask every intelligent reader of this article to watch the following video of Rachel Maddow’s analysis of Cheney and tell me that it is not bullet proof. She shows Cheney and the GOP for the hypocrites that they are. Will 2010 bring more honest and reasoned debate? I doubt it but we can always hope.
Happy New Year!