Bill Kristol has a great column… (in which) he says, quote, ‘Every great cause begins as a movement’ — this is an Eric Hoffer quote that he applies to the GOP — ‘Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.’ And that’s exactly what happened. You had the great conservative revolution of 1980, and you had Heritage and a lot of other organizations grow up out of that, and all the other intellectual thrust, politically, was on the Republican side from 1980, say, to 1990. The Democratic Party was tired; liberalism was exhausted.
But that (conservatism) turned into a business. We saw a couple of Republican consultants get paid tens of millions of dollars; and then it becomes a racket, and that’s where you have a lot of people running around saying harsh things that sell books, and push ratings, and lose elections… And that’s where we are: conservatism is a racket for a lot of people to get very, very rich.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced who will chair all of the major House committees in the next Congress. And it turns out they all have something in common besides party affiliation: they’re all white men.
There isn’t a single woman or minority included in the mix of 19 House committee chairs announced Tuesday — a stark reality for a party desperate to appeal to women and minorities after both groups overwhelmingly rejected Republicans just weeks ago in the presidential election. The one female committee chair that House Republicans currently have, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is stepping down because her term is up. While there are still two lower-tier House committees awaiting a chair assignment — the Ethics Committee and House Administration — neither committee has any women or minority members.
A partisan war is brewing that could bring the government to a screeching halt as early as January — and no, it’s not over the fiscal cliff.
It’s all about the filibuster.
Democrats are threatening to change filibuster rules, in what will surely prompt a furious GOP revolt that could make those rare moments of bipartisan consensus even harder to come by during the next Congress.
Here’s what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering: banning filibusters used to prevent debate from even starting and House-Senate conference committees from ever meeting. He also may make filibusters become actual filibusters — to force senators to carry out the nonstop, talkathon sessions.
Republicans are threatening even greater retaliation if Reid uses a move rarely used by Senate majorities: changing the chamber’s precedent by 51 votes, rather than the usual 67 votes it takes to overhaul the rules.
“I think the backlash will be severe,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. “If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”
“It will shut down the Senate,” the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told POLITICO. “It’s such an abuse of power.”
If Republicans are serious about repairing their party’s standing among women, gay and Hispanic voters, they need to adjust some policies and stop sending hostile messages. A good place to start would be for Republicans in the House to stop blocking reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act over provisions deemed too protective of gay and immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
By refusing to accept the principle of protecting all victims of domestic violence, House Republican leaders are conveying a belief that rapes of gay people and immigrant women are not “legitimate” rapes, as Representative Todd Akin, the failed Republican candidate for the Senate from Missouri, put it so appallingly. Is that really what Republicans want to stand for?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the entirely predictable GOP civil war is moving forward nicely, with those who see the demographic writing on the wall calling for some basic changes to not only messaging, but actual policy. One GOP pollster, for example, said the party needs to jettison it’s homophobia. “We should remain a pro-life party, but we will get nowhere being a party standing against gay rights,” warned Whit Ayres. Other prejudices and idiocies are suggested for the chopping block as well.
That many Republicans are wising up and realizing that attacking everyone other than straight evangelical white males is electoral suicide is probably a good thing for the nation. That they seem to be losing the argument to the knuckledraggers is good news for Democrats. The change-nothing faction within the GOP is “the more dominant voice, and the one gaining currency within the center of the party,” according to WSJ.
It asserts that Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama was primarily a tactical failure, a combination of poor articulation of GOP positions and a weak effort to register voters and move them to the polls. Better execution on both, they say, would have swung the few hundred thousand votes in a few states that would have tipped the presidential election the other way.
This contingent, which includes many Republican governors, points to a wide range of shortcomings that it faults for the party’s failings in the presidential and a number of Senate races. Among those: poor candidates, a shoddy turnout machine and an overall tone that didn’t resonate well with young voters, minorities and women.
But few in this camp believe deeper surgery is needed. “It is critically important we remain true to who we are,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said in an interview here at the meeting of the Republican Governors Association. “We have to figure out how to make our principles more attractive to emerging voters. But if we abdicate those, we become a very different entity.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad summed up this argument nicely. “We need candidates that don’t say dumb things,” he said.
Yes, Richard Mourdock’s position on rape as a blessing wasn’t the problem — the problem was that he put it so poorly. Sugarcoat it a little and everyone will swallow it. This is denial on steroids.
But what can you expect from people guided more by their ideology than by reason? As I’ve pointed out before, it’s pretty much impossible to accept the core “pro-life” position — that life begins at conception — and also allow exceptions to abortion bans. Saying they shouldn’t talk about that position ignores the fact that they’ll eventually be forced to vote on it. And, when that time comes, they’ll vote their consciences and have to explain why they think women should be forced to carry a rapist’s baby to term. The discussion is unavoidable. Once you begin to have that conversation, there’s no way to spin things to suddenly make this lunatic argument any more popular.
And the same goes for every fringe issue down the line. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to say what you believe and that’s going to end you. In fact, the fallout would probably be even worse for the Republican brand. Think they hate you for saying how you’d vote? Wait until you see how they feel after you’ve actually voted. Hint; you won’t enjoy it.
It’s not the “tone,” it’s the positions. A changing electorate hates GOP positions. And why does this surprise anyone? The homophobic, sexist campaign of religious wedge issues, combined with the racist southern strategy, could only work so long as a shrinking portion of the electorate was big enough to move elections. How on Earth are you supposed to continue attacking gays, women, Latinos, blacks, Muslims, etc. while attracting those same people you’re attacking? The problem is the hate.
If Republicans don’t change course, they will die as a national party. Gerrymandering will save them in regional races — state and local, congressional — for a while. But when that sort of election rigging is irrelevant — i.e., presidential races — the GOP will continue to get their clock cleaned, by bigger and increasingly more convincing margins.
It’s reports like this that put smiles on the faces of Democratic strategists and activists. The headline they saw in the Wall Street Journal is “GOP Kamikazes Winning the Navigational Fight.”
Rest assured. Despite the fiscal cliff hysteria currently gripping the nation, an Oracle has spoken, and he says there’s nothing to fear.
Billionaire philanthropist and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha for his investing prowess, says that no matter what happens in the fiscal cliff debate, the Americans won’t “permanently cripple ourselves.” That being said, we’d be a lot better off if Congress united, especially Republican representatives, he told CNNMoney.
Barack Obama fared well across the country Tuesday night, winning 332 electoral votes en route to a second term as president. Nowhere did he perform better, however, than in states that place the highest emphasis on education.
Of the 10 most educated states, measured by the percentage of residents over 25 years old who have a bachelor’s degree or higher, Obama swept all 10. Conversely, among the 10 least educated states, Obama lost 9 states.
Here are the 10 most educated states, with those Obama won underlined. The percentage of residents over 25 with a college degree is in parentheses:
Most educated statesLeast educated states
Massachusetts (39.1%)West Virginia (18.5%)Maryland (36.9%)Mississippi (19.8%)Colorado (36.7%)Arkansas (20.3%)Connecticut (36.2%)Kentucky (21.1%)Vermont (35.4%)Louisiana (21.1%)New Jersey (35.3%)Alabama (22.3%)Virginia (35.1%)Nevada (22.5%)New Hampshire (33.4%)Indiana (23.0%)New York (32.9%)Tennessee (23.6%)Minnesota (32.4%)Oklahoma (23.8%)
Similarly, states that invested the most in teachers went overwhelmingly for Obama. He swept the 10 states with highest average public school teacher salaries. Among states in the bottom 10 for average teacher salaries, Obama won just one.
Here are the best and worst states for teacher salaries, with states Obama carried underlined and average salary in parentheses:
States with highest average teacher salariesStates with lowest average teacher salaries
California ($63,640)South Dakota ($35,378)Connecticut ($60,822)North Dakota ($38,822)New Jersey ($59,584)Mississippi ($40,182)New York ($59,559)West Virginia ($40,531)Massachusetts ($58,257)Utah ($41,156)Illinois ($58,246)Montana ($41,225)Maryland ($56,927)Missouri ($41,751)Rhode Island ($55,956)Nebraska ($42,044)Michigan ($55,526)Maine ($42,103)Pennsylvania ($54,970)Oklahoma ($42,379)
The Nation has obtained audio of Lee Atwater’s infamous 1981 interview on the GOP’s southern strategy. The legendarily brutal campaign consultant explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…. “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Now, the same indefatigable researcher who brought us Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, James Carter IV, has dug up the entire forty-two minute interview from which that quote derives. Hear the rest of the interview here.
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Sunday pointed to the roots of Southern strategy of the late 1960s — which appealed to racism in the South — as an example of how the Republican Party should reform itself after President Barack Obama won re-election.
Ingraham points to Southern strategy for reforming Republican Party | The Raw Story
The very public argument under way — after all, the players have media platforms that give them a megaphone for their views — has significant implications for the future of the GOP. The right has a deep, diverse, and highly influential bench of opinion makers, and its pundits are moving to expand their influence in a sphere suffering from a lack of political leadership from its elected officials and organizational figures.
And if another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue. The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of “legitimate rape.
Karen Hughes, former George W. Bush adviser • Voicing her frustrations with the rhetoric on rape and women’s rights from some members of her party leading up to last Tuesday. As both a woman and Republican, Hughes comes by the intensity of her disdain naturally — no less than two GOP Senate candidates in eminently winnable races, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, had their chances derailed by high-profile, tone-deaf and offensive comments on rape and pregnancy. The Obama campaign maximized its advantage with female voters to staggering effect this cycle, beating Mitt Romney among single women by 38%. source (via shortformblog)
This is why politics is a sham. Instead of saying this after the matter, after her team lost, why not speak her mind before the election? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do, to speak up even when it’s your side talking stupid? Put people before party; put facts before fiction; put truth before lies. This is true for Democrats as well as Republicans, but more true for Republicans. (via joshsternberg)
There’s no white resentment without white supremacy. If you take away the idea that America is first and foremost, and should always be run by white people, if you take that away, then white resentment doesn’t make any sense. You know, it immediately dissipates. And so I just don’t— this sounds like a strange defense of the Republican Party, but it’s like, there’s a market for this, and the market was created by history.
The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates on the politics of white resentment, from Saturday’s Up w/ Chris Hayes. (via upwithchris)
“The white establishment is now the minority,” O’Reilly said. “And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”
“The demographics are changing,” he said. “It’s not a traditional America anymore.”
This evening on Fox News, long-time anchor Bill O’Reilly, explaining why Obama was doing better in the voting than he anticipated, unleashed one of the most nakedly racist outbursts heard on national television by a prominent commentator. After first claiming that “50 percent of the people… want stuff” and thus vote for Obama because he gives it to them, O’Reilly added:
“Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.”
In other words, now that the majority in America is no longer white, the majority are lazy, dependent and eager for free government handouts. That is the type of commentary one would hear in the swamps of white supremacist websites. Even for Fox News, this is toxic and repellent.