Once more, a “Congressman With Guts” leads the way (more here).
This is from Ryan Grim and Amanda Terkel at HuffPo, highlighting Alan Grayson and other fighting progressive Dems (yes, I know each district is different and all politics are ultimately local, but I still think there are valuable lessons to learn here).
(Couldn’t quite finish a non-video post today, but hopefully I will tomorrow.)
Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed writer and conservative shill Kevin Ferris concocted the following yesterday (here)…
…The Inquirer, Politico, and others have reported on several instances of Democrats helping so-called tea-party candidates – nationwide and close to home.
Florida: Republicans and tea-party activists are accusing Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and a Republican consultant of forming a front group, the Florida Tea Party, to help Democratic candidates in state and congressional races, including Grayson.
Michigan: A Democratic official was forced to resign his party position last week after being accused of fraudulently notarizing campaign filings for a dozen so-called tea-party candidates. The 23 candidates statewide who were supposedly representing tea parties have been denied ballot positions.
New Jersey: In the Third Congressional District, where Republican Jon Runyan is challenging Democratic freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler, the GOP says the incumbent is boosting the third-party bid of Peter DeStefano. There are reports of longtime Adler and Democratic Party supporters signing nominating petitions, and Adler’s campaign suspiciously released an early internal poll that included DeStefano. Adler denies any connection between his campaign and DeStefano.
Pennsylvania: In the governor’s race, a review of state records led the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to report on Aug. 10: “Members of unions that endorsed Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, as well as one of his campaign workers, helped get Tea Party candidate John Krupa onto Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial ballot.” Krupa dropped out of the race a week later when challenged by tea-party activists.
In the Seventh District race to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, third-party candidate Jim Schneller wouldn’t be on the ballot with Republican Pat Meehan and Democrat Bryan Lentz if not for Democrats circulating petitions for him. Swarthmore Democrat Colleen Guiney, one of the “Lentz or Schneller for Congress” devotees, was referred to by Lentz earlier this year as “the hardest worker on my campaign.” A hearing on Meehan’s challenge to Schneller’s candidacy is scheduled for this week.
“It’s almost an admission that the party’s candidates need something other than merit to win this fall,” a recent Detroit Free Press editorial said of the Michigan case.
Wow, what a festival of generalizations, innuendo, and strawman arguments! It must’ve taken Ferris more than a week to come up with this dookey (I’m sure that’s why his column didn’t appear last week).
And of course, it’s only an issue if those teabaggers are helped by Dems and not Repugs as far as Ferris is concerned (can you say “double standard”?).
Concerning FLA, the following should be noted (here)…
In Florida, the evidence of a Democratic conspiracy is circumstantial at best. But Republicans gained new traction this week with a Roll Call article outlining connections between Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, the famed firebrand who accused Republicans of telling patients to “die quickly,” and the upstart Tea Party. As reported in the piece, one of the Tea Party candidates for the state House, Victoria Torres, took $11,000 from the Grayson campaign for polling work. And one of the Florida Tea Party’s most prominent backers is longtime political consultant Doug Guetzloe, who serves as a Grayson appointee on a business advisory board and whose teenage son has worked as an intern for Grayson
A spokesman for Grayson, Todd Jurkowski, denied the charges to The Daily Beast and produced a copy of the poll he said the party commissioned from Torres, which was publicly released at the time it was conducted. It was a publicity stunt: Grayson polled himself as a candidate in the Republican primary and found himself in the lead. Jurkowski said the party sought a Republican pollster to better capture that side of the electorate, and that the firm that conducted the poll, Middleton Market Research, was subcontracted by Torres. (Torres did not return requests for comment.) As for Guetzloe, Jurkowski noted that Grayson has plausible appeal to some Tea Party members given his close association with Ron Paul on legislation like an amendment to audit the Fed.
So what of Michigan, then? As noted here…
According to a report from the Detroit Free Press Jason Bauer, former director of operations for the Oakland County Democratic Party, notarized a dozen affidavits for Tea Party candidates including one for a candidate who had no idea he was on the ballot. Two of the candidates were also later found to be under-aged and one was a resident of Phoenix, Arizona.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the matter and on Friday Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson filed a petition in court asking for a one-person grand jury to investigate possible election fraud.
Bauer resigned Sunday night and was condemned by the Oakland County Democratic Party as reports of his actions surfaced. He faces potential criminal charges over misusing his notary license. The head of the Oakland County Democrats resigned on Sunday as well.
So basically, Bauer acted like a total idiot and notarized the affidavits when he shouldn’t have, but my question is who prepared the affidavits to begin with? Until we know the answer to that question, I’m reserving judgment on the question of whether or not this is some kind of Dem “dirty tricks” operation or just a case of Bauer getting duped (he’d have to be pretty dumb to orchestrate something like this just to help his party knowing the risk).
And in New Jersey, Ferris is alleging a Dem/Tea Party conspiracy because incumbent Rep John Adler “suspiciously released an early internal poll” that included third-party candidate Pete DeStefano? Shocking!
Try reading this post where DeStefano says the Dems and Repugs “are both full of crap” and the Tea Partiers “are shills for the Republicans.” With that in mind, you would truly have to have a vivid imagination to think DeStefano is in collusion with anyone.
And concerning John Krupa, the alleged tea party candidate in the PA gubernatorial race, if the state GOP thought he was a “plant,” then why didn’t they challenge his petition? Why did they leave it up to the teabaggers to do that (here)?
The charge about Jim Schneller in the PA-07 U.S. House contest (pitting Dem Bryan Lentz against Repug Pat Meehan for Joe Sestak’s seat) is the one from Ferris that looks the most legitimate, though Schneller doesn’t consider himself to be a “tea party” candidate (walks like one and talks like one, though, based on this – the story notes, though, that Schneller has been percieved as a threat by both Democrats and Republicans).
However, considering that the Repugs did the same thing with Jay Russell in the Bucks County Commissioners election (here, with convenience store owner Russell siphoning just enough votes to prevent Dem Steve Santarsiero from winning and re-electing Repug Charley “I Have A Semi-Open Mind” Martin instead), I have no sympathy for the teabaggers on this or any other issue.
And your instructors are Mr. Grayson and Mr. Uygur (and Mr. Herbert).
(I would be a lot more encouraged if the House chamber attendance wasn’t so sparse for what Grayson said, I should add.)
I don’t care who the president is, Grayson is right; this is an idea whose time has come (here).
Obscenely-salaried bunco artists with fancy degrees ripping off our economy with impunity on Wall Street, corporate environmental criminals ruining precious wetlands and nature preserves to say nothing of entire industries in the Gulf, and defense contractors getting forever rich off war without end in the Middle East and Asia…all the while, our economy crumbles.
Anybody in the House who I support who doesn’t support Grayson’s bill had better have a damn good explanation.
(And by the way, if any “teabaggers” out there had any brains, this is exactly what they should support based on all of their barely-coherent antics.)
Bradley makes the case here that, while brokering peace in the Russo-Japanese War (for which Roosevelt won a Nobel Prize, and thus earning wingnut enmity I’m sure for a president then as now), Roosevelt secretly encouraged Japanese imperialist ambitions which culminated in the attack on Pearl Harbor while TR’s fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, occupied the White House.
Well, I think this critique of Bradley’s book “The Imperial Cruise,” about some kind of secret deal supposedly brokered by Roosevelt war secretary William Howard Taft which allowed for Japanese expansion, echoes much of what was wrong with Bradley’s Times column yesterday, notably that “Bradley says these agreements later came to light and then were forgotten by Americans. But he doesn’t explain why, in the 1930s, imperial Japan would act on the secret words of a man dead for more than a decade and out of office since 1909.”
Of course, you could argue that Japan launched war against the U.S. because it thought we would immediately seek peace, not wishing to fight a “second front” since we were readying for war in Europe. And of course, there are those who thought FDR surreptitiously sought a way to involve us and allowed Pearl Harbor to happen (which I also disagree with, along with the notion of TR’s blame).
But those latter two explanations are cold comfort to conspiracy theorists, since they don’t have the burden of the cold, hard logic of reality.
And in so doing, he tells us the following…
All of this has created an upside-down dynamic in Washington. For most of the country’s existence, prospective candidates have relied on their news-media ties to catapult them into office. As far back as the 19th century, the newspaperman Horace Greeley used his New York Tribune as a platform for his political career; more recently, Ronald Reagan made his radio commentaries the basis for a campaign agenda. Now, however, we may be confronting the opposite phenomenon: some politicians seem to seek office mostly for the purpose of landing on TV. How else to adequately explain the calculated outrageousness of obscure backbenchers like the Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann (who said Obama was practicing “economic Marxism” and worried that the census could lead to another internment of American citizens) and her Democratic colleague Alan Grayson (who called one lobbyist a “whore” and other Republicans “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals”)?
Of course, Bai could have told us that Grayson apologized (as noted here), but Bai chose not to do so. And to be fair, Moon Unit Bachmann apologized for calling Obama “anti-American” here, though it should be noted that she was still running for re-election in ‘08 at the time.
As the Senate geared up for its first weekend of debate on the health care legislation, lawmakers made plans to break from the rituals of governing to allow time for the rituals of religion.
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and an observant Jew, was prepared to vote on Saturday the Jewish Sabbath, following his longtime custom when it comes to important issues, said a spokesman, Marshall Wittmann. Mr. Lieberman would walk to the Capitol, not drive.
And the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is a Baptist, has secured an agreement from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader (strange that “majority leader” was initial lower case in H.’s story, since it’s a title), Democrat of Nevada and a Mormon, that senators will have Sunday morning off so they can go to church.
“I think it very likely that we wouldn’t come in until noon or somewhere around noon on Sunday,” Mr. Reid said.
At the same time, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church on Capitol Hill has warned parishioners that because the Senate planned to be in session Sunday, they might not have access to a government parking lot that is normally used for parishioners.
Oh, and by the way, this snark is noteworthy…
The Senate Republicans’ appeal for time to go to church is just about the only Republican procedural request that Democrats have not suggested was a stalling tactic.
Still, the calendar between now and the end of the year looks tighter than ever. Even with time off for Sabbath services, there is no sign of a day of rest anytime soon.
Awww, poor babies!
And by the way, maybe Herszenhorn didn’t see this from Politico (they actually get some reporting right every now and then, usually when Mike Allen isn’t involved), but it describes a memo circulated by Senate Repug Judd Gregg on doing whatever it could to “stall” on the matter of health care reform in particular (h/t Think Progress). So given that, I don’t know why it should be assumed that the Repugs wouldn’t do all they could to slow legislation.
And in another Herszenhorn column on health care reform (particularly the public option and the “opt out” provision – I know why all Senate Repugs and some Democrats are fighting it, but given its overwhelming support, their antics are particularly despicable), he concludes with the following…
Two pivotal centrists, Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said they could not support any of these proposals being floated by Democrats.
“The public option is really a government-created and government-run insurance company,” Mr. Lieberman said. “It won’t help a single poor person get insurance.”
It really is true about how The Last Honest Man is allowed to lie with impunity, my fellow prisoners.
And I must admit that I really don’t know how directly to respond to such a bogus charge, except to point to this column from Chris Hayes of The Nation, in which he tells us the following…
Red, rural states would almost all probably opt out and yet it’s rural America that needs the public option the most. As the Center for Community Change points out in a new report [PDF] people who live in rural areas are a) more likely to be underinsured, because fewer people receive insurance from their employers and b) live in markets where there is essentially no competition. In Alabama one health insurance company has 90% market share, in South Dakota, it’s two companies. It’s under these circumstances where the public option is most needed.
And it should also be noted here that Holy Joe has thus far refused to appear on The Rachel Maddow Show to defend his claims against the public option and health care reform in general, so that tells you how ridiculous his arguments truly are.
Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Cheney said Sunday that President Obama’s recently announced decision to send an additional 30, 000 troops to Afghanistan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”
“The [Bush] doctrine is no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]. That’s the doctrine,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin explained Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
The problem for Democrats,” Matalin also said Sunday, “is that they’ve bashed Bush strategy and tactics for so long and now they have to embrace them because they’re the only ones that do work.”
Oh, that’s funny!
In the matter of “Bush strategy and tactics,” let’s compare how our current chief executive has arrived at his own war strategy (whether you agree with it or not, and truth be told, I don’t), versus his predecessor.
First, here is an excerpt from a Times story by Peter Baker which tells us the following…
The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved. It was a virtual seminar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, led by a president described by one participant as something “between a college professor and a gentle cross-examiner.”
Mr. Obama peppered advisers with questions and showed an insatiable demand for information, taxing analysts who prepared three dozen intelligence reports for him and Pentagon staff members who churned out thousands of pages of documents.
Now, let’s take a Tragical History Tour back about five and a half years concerning Obama’s predecessor (in a Times column by Bob Herbert)…
Condi Rice was in Washington trying to pass her oral exam before the 9/11 commission yesterday, and the president was on vacation in Texas. As usual, they were in close agreement, this time on the fact that neither they nor anyone else in this remarkably aloof and arrogant administration is responsible for the tragic mess unfolding in Iraq, and its implications for the worldwide war on terror.
The president called Ms. Rice from his pickup truck on the ranch to tell her she had done a great job before the panel.
It doesn’t get more surreal than that.
Mr. President, there’s a war on. You might consider hopping a plane to Washington.
It’s hard to imagine that the news out of Iraq could be more dreadful. After the loss of at least 634 American troops and the expenditure of countless billions of dollars, we’ve succeeded in getting the various Iraqi factions to hate us more than they hate each other. And terrorists are leaping on the situation in Iraq like rats feasting on a mound of exposed cheese.
The administration has no real plan on how to proceed. It doesn’t know how many troops are needed. It doesn’t know, in the long term, where they will come from. It doesn’t know whether it can meet the June 30 deadline for turning over sovereignty to the Iraqis. (It doesn’t know what sovereignty in this context even means. June 30 was an arbitrary date selected with this year’s presidential campaign in mind.) It doesn’t have a cadre of Iraqi leaders to accept the handoff of sovereignty. And so on.
When you open the door to get a look at the Bush policy on Iraq, you find yourself staring into an empty room.
Meanwhile, people are dying.
But just remember that Obama has copied “Bush’s strategy and tactics.”
And just to remind us, Matalin said this on CNN.
We’ll have to “leave it there.”
“Why should launching wars and cutting taxes for the rich require only 50 votes while saving lives requires 60?” asked Grayson, who listed a series of important bills that passed with fewer than 60 votes.
“Join me in calling for an end to this unfair system,” he added. “Tell Majority Leader Reid to modify the rules of the Senate to require only 55 votes to invoke cloture instead of 60. Fill out the form below to sign the petition today!”
I know there are individuals in his district working to knock off Grayson in next year’s election, which is their right of course. If they are unsuccessful, though, I hope this guy serves forever.
It should be pointed out, though, that if and when the Democrats become the minority congressional party once more (and given the overall ebb and flow of things, that is likely to happen again, though not for some time I hope), such a rule change could work against them.
As noted here…
Despite his attempts to persuade senators to vote for a medical malpractice bill limited to capping damage awards to providers of obstetrical and gynecologic services rather than all medical specialties, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is not expected to get the 60 votes he needs Feb. 24th to cut off debate on the “Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act of 2003.”
And it’s a good thing, too; imagine a monstrosity like that getting passed by an all-Repug congress and signed into law by Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History.
Concerning the history of the filibuster, though, this tells us the following…
Associate Senate Historian Don Ritchie said that since the nation’s start, dissident senators have prolonged debate to try to kill or modify legislation. The word “filibuster” — a translation of the Dutch word for “free-booter” or pirate — appears in the record of an 1840s Senate dispute about a patronage job.
From Reconstruction to 1964, the filibuster was largely a tool used by segregationists to fight civil rights legislation. Even so, filibusters were employed only rarely; there were only three during the 88th Congress, which passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 after two months of filibustering.
Filibusters were infrequent partly because the Senate custom of civility prompted consideration of minority views — and partly because they were so hard to overcome that compromises were struck. In 1917 cloture rules for ending filibusters were put in place, but required a two-thirds vote — so high it was rarely tested.
Post-Watergate, in 1975, the bar was lowered to three-fifths, or 60 votes, and leaders began to try it more often.
By the early 1990s, tensions between then-Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine and Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas upped the ante, and the filibuster-cloture spiral has soared ever since as more partisan politics prevailed. The use of filibusters became “basically a tool of the minority party,” Ritchie said.
The McClatchy story from 2007 also tells us the following…
By sinking a cloture vote this week, Republicans successfully blocked a Democratic bid to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April, even though a 52-49 Senate majority voted to end debate.
Some Republicans say that (Majority Leader Harry) Reid forces cloture votes just so he can complain that they’re obstructing him.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., called the all-nighter on Iraq “meaningless, insulting” and “an indignity.” “There is no doubt that there are not 67 votes present to override a veto. There is little doubt that there are not 60 votes present to bring the issue to a vote.”
Maybe, but as noted here, Specter voted for cloture on a non-binding resolution opposing the surge in February 2007, to Specter’s credit, though the vote failed (so maybe Reid knew something Specter didn’t?).
Again, I applaud the intention of what Grayson is trying to do here. However, I cannot imagine a body as monolithic as the U.S. Senate acting in accordance with his wishes (and again, even if it did, it might one day work against us).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — On the surface it all seemed like a gruesome hate crime in a rural part of Kentucky with a history of disdain for the government: a census worker found bound with duct tape and hanging from a tree, the word “fed” scrawled across his chest.
But investigators noticed the foot-tall letters scrawled in black felt-tip pen looked like they could have been written by the victim himself, and they soon found out that he believed he had cancer, had two insurance policies worth $600,000, and had an adult son in need of money.
Investigators said Tuesday what they had been hinting at for weeks, that Bill Sparkman’s hanging was a ruse to mask his suicide for a big insurance payout.
Cue the wingnut umbrage (here, where the following parties are listed for supposedly owing apologies)…
MyDD – “No Suicide: That’s the one thing we know for certain now in the case of the Kentucky lynching….But the most worrying possibility – that this is Southern populist terrorism, whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts – remains real. We’ll see.”
(By the way, if you click on the MyDD link above from the Reason article, it does not take you to the preceding paragraph.)
Andrew Sullivan – The gruesome lynching of this Census worker seems to bear a disturbing similarity to some of the worst hate crimes committed across this country. Regardless of what the motive for the killing may have been, why would a murderer(s) take such pains to so blatantly convey anger, fear, and vitriol towards a Census employee? Perhaps because some on the right have created an impression that Census employees are terrifying.
Earlier this summer, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) waged a high-profile, wildly-dishonest campaign against the Census.
(Same as above – too funny.)
ThinkProgress – Others, namely the type to kill a Census worker and string up his body as message to the government, may call it a retraining camp run by the “Feds.”
This is the kind of violent event that emerges from a culture of paranoia and unsubstantiated attacks.
(Same as above – this is hilarious.)
Huffington Post – From this profile of the cancer survivor and volunteer, it appears suicide is unlikely. We’ll find out. But at some point, unhinged hostility to the federal government, whipped up by the Becks, can become violence. That’s what Pelosi was worried about.
Andrew Sullivan – Send the body to Glenn Beck…Is it possible that the time has come for the FCC to consider exactly what constitutes screaming fire over the publicly owned airwaves? And what if Mr. Sparkman’s murderer(s) is never found? How many other lunatics will be emboldened to make their own anti-government statement as the voices of Beck, Limbaugh and Dobbs echo in their ears?
Nobody ever intended our public airwaves to be turned over to irresponsible voices. Maybe the time has come for the FCC to worry a bit less about wardrobe malfunctions and a whole lot more about those who would use our airwaves to make a name for themselves at the expense of the public they are suppose to serve–particularly when the expense comes in the form of blood.
(A perfect five for five here, people! NONE of the excerpts shown above link back to the original posts. And I searched on keywords that Reason excerpted above – “violence,” “hostility,” “Beck,” “Pelosi,” “paranoia,” like that – and found nothing that matched.)
Speaking for myself, I had this to say at the time, alleging that a teabagger or two might have gone too far, but I didn’t accuse anyone in particular.
Catholic politicians have been trying to have it both ways for years, some even obeying that church’s teaching when it comes to capital punishment for convicted murderers but disobeying those teachings when it comes to “capital punishment” for the innocent unborn.
No one is forced to join the Catholic Church and no one is forbidden to leave it. But if a Catholic politician wants the benefits of Roman Catholicism in his political life and the life to come, he should be expected to obey its most fundamental teachings.
Strong stuff (and actually, as noted here, Thomas is exactly right about the Church’s position on capital punishment).
But it’s a funny thing – this tells us the following…
When the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to proceed after earlier ruling it unconstitutional, it said, “the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community’s belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death.”
Injustices and inequities can and should be repaired. But two brothers who beat a sleeping couple to death with baseball bats and a father who tortured his mute, severely retarded and handicapped stepdaughter for five years until she died (these were among the death-row inmates whose sentences were commuted by former Republican Governor George Ryan of Illinois) deserve to have their lives taken from them and not to be permanent “guests” of the state and a burden to taxpayers for the rest of their lives.
Call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but if I didn’t know better, I’d say that that sounds like a defense of the death penalty. I wonder who could have written that?
Why, it was none other than Cal Thomas, in 2003!
What was that again about obeying the “most fundamental teachings” of the Catholic Church, Cal?
Update: And in a related story, as they say, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has officially lost its collective mind (here, its “heart” and basic sense of decency having long since departed as well).