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Mitch McConnell’s Office Pulls a Shapiro, Demagogues Obvious Joke As If It Were Fact

1:10 pm in 2012 election by Phoenix Woman

Mitch McConnell: Worried Gitmo prisoners will get GI benefits

Mitch McConnell: Worried Gitmo prisoners will get GI benefitsRemember how earlier this month Breitbart legacy-keeper Ben Shapiro, who is either one of the stupidest persons alive or one of the most mendacious (or quite possibly both), decided he was going to take a set of obviously-facetious comments made by a New York Daily Newsjournalist, treat them as factual, and use them as clubs with which to beat up Chuck Hagel?

Turns out this sort of thing is quite common among the conservative set. Back in October, the Duffel Blog — which is a satirical site, sort of a military-minded version of The Onionput up a post stating that Guantanamo prisoners were to receive G.I. Bill benefits. And guess what? One of Senator Mitch McConnell’s constituents (a person who like Shapiro is stupid or mendacious or both) reported it as fact to McConnell’s office, which in turn forwarded the note to DoD on the assumption it was fact.

McConnell’s staffers aren’t the first conservatives or Republicans to demagogue stuff from the Duffel Blog. In November, thousands of Romney fans, treating a satirical Duffel Blog posting as fact, called for a recount after the blog posted a 100%-fact-free piece stating that military absentee ballots were delivered a day late.

It almost makes me want to start a rumor just to see how fast some conblogger picks up on it.

“80% of the Farm Bill Goes for Food Stamps” and Other Minnesota Conservative Shriekings

3:09 pm in 2012 election by Phoenix Woman

Allen Quist rides off into the sunset, courtesy of Ken Avidor.

Rick Perlstein recently wrote an article for The Baffler titled “The Long Con” that nicely describes the addiction of American conservatives to the realms of untruth: not just blatant lies about ideological matters, but get-rich-quick scams and grifting as well, all of which at one time or another is hidden under a pious mask and often seasoned with bigotry.

I thought of this when I saw Bluestem Prairie’s latest limning of the shambling mound of dishonesty that is Bachmann ally Allen Quist:

In Walz cannot have bill both ways, a letter to the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune, the Norseland farmer writes:

Tim Walz is at it again. He’s again saying we need to pass the farm bill now.

But during the latter part of the recent campaign, he said we needed to control federal spending.

So which is it?

The last farm bill, in 2008, had a price tag of $286 billion. This farm bill’s price tag is almost twice that at $500 billion — half a trillion.

You can’t control federal spending and double spending on the farm bill at the same time, obviously.

And none of that spending increase is for farm programs. The increase is entirely for food stamps — a program run so poorly that we have no way of knowing if the benefits go to people who actually need them.

Actually 80 percent of the spending in the farm bill is for food stamps. It’s not really a farm bill at all. It’s a food stamp bill with a farm bill rider. . . . .

Heard it before from Quist? Of course we all have–again and again, along with nonsense about Food Stamps being an important contributing factor for the nation’s divorce rate.

Ai-yi-yi.

As Bluestem goes on to point out, the sensible people understand that the actual Farm Bill, and not Quist’s bigotry-tinged Bizarro World caricature of it (because in the Republican version of reality, only urban nonwhites ever use food stamps), is more likely to help lower the nation’s deficit by spending judiciously on things like family nutrition. As we all know, spending on preventive care — and keeping problems from occurring in the first place — is far more cost-effective than dealing with problems once they’ve materialized in full force. Family nutrition programs of the sort that Quist derides are just that sort of preventive care.

Quist’s rantings, which apparently spring from various bits of GOP boilerplate talking points and are by no means original to him, aren’t the only bit of reality denial coming from the starboard side of the North Star State’s political apparatus.
Read the rest of this entry →

So Long, Shoebox: Karl Rove’s Last Hurrah

9:12 pm in 2012 election by Phoenix Woman

There is an anecdote that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Karl Rove. It goes like this:

Alongside his ambition and fixation on politics he appears to have believed that the end always justified the means. At [high] school debates he had a mountain of reference cards. Every debater on the team brought a shoebox of cards, but he would bring up to 10 boxes and dump them down, intimidatingly. A team-mate said “there wasn’t a thing on 99% of them”.

That’s our Karl: A boastful blowhard with precious little to back up the boasts, and addicted to ethical shortcuts to make up for his nothingness.

Lost in the blizzard of schadenfreude over his comeuppance and meltdown last Tuesday is this fact: He’s had similar comeuppances in the past, though the resulting meltdowns weren’t quite as spectacular as was last Tuesday’s.

For instance, let us consider 2006. Even as all the evidence was pointing, for those who were paying attention (and who were ignoring the sort of pundit-fog Rove specializes in emitting), to big gains for the Democrats, Rove was adamant that such gains simply weren’t in the cards — his “math”, you see, told him differently, as he announced to NPR’s Robert Siegel in late October of 2006: Read the rest of this entry →

Why Has the Director of Minnesota’s Chief Anti-Marriage-Equality Group Suddenly Gone Silent on That Issue?

10:20 pm in 2012 election, LGBT, Politics, Religion, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Andy Parrish, as seen by Ken Avidor

There has been a lot of verbiage produced by those who would keep couples of the same gender from marrying, verbiage that all too often is comical and horrifying at the same time — a recent example being former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey’s unbelievable and grotesque statement claiming that anti-gay and anti-marriage-equality persons like himself were victims like Jews in Nazi Germany. (Considering that gays were singled out for especially brutal treatment by the Nazis, something that Lord Carey as an educated person should know better than many, this is particularly vile of him.) [UPDATE: Turns out the quote being bandied about from Lord Carey is only a portion of the full quote, which is in fact anti-bigotry: [Lord Carey] rejected suggestions that the true “bigots” were those who advocated gay marriage and would not listen to legitimate concerns of religious groups who disagreed.

“Let’s have a sensible debate about this, not call people names,” he said. “Let’s remember that the Jews in Nazi Germany, what started it all against them was when they started being called names. That was the first stage towards that totalitarian state.”]

In Minnesota in particular, where the anti-equality forces have got their pet Republican legislators to put an amendment on the ballot that would embed anti-equality laws into the state’s constitution, there has been a lot of verbiage. So much, in fact, that when a key producer of that verbiage suddenly falls silent on that issue, it draws attention.

The director and a key spokesperson for the anti-equality group “Minnesotans for Marriage” is Andy Parrish, a longtime Republican operative with close ties to Michele Bachmann and other persons in the Theocon wing of the Republican Party of Minnesota. He used to use his Twitter account all the time to push M4M and the anti-equality cause. That is, he did until he suddenly stopped nearly two weeks ago. As Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes:

As deputy campaign director of Minnesota for Marriage (M4M), Republican political operative Andy Parrish has never been shy about tweeting and Facebooking about the marriage restriction amendment.

Until October 2.

Since then, his tweets and Facebook page have been nearly all A Stronger Minnesota, the new political committee that’s supposed to be the conservative answer to A Better Minnesota. We count three M4M-related posts out of over fifty tweets and retweets, as well as only A Stronger Minnesota material on his Facebook page.

Sorensen goes on to note that Parrish has also vanished from press accounts of M4M, and apparently even failed to attend a key M4M event hosted last Monday. Yet he is still drawing his director’s pay, as far as anyone knows, to the tune of $5,000 every two weeks, per the 42nd Day report filed with the Minnesota State Campaign Finance Board.

Why the sudden silence on what is currently one of the two hottest political questions in Minnesota politics? As Sorensen points out, it’s hard to imagine that Parrish’s new role at “A Stronger Minnesota” would take up so much time that it would prevent him from being a very vocal M4M director, being that ASM is only involved in four legislative races this cycle.

Other people will no doubt have different takes on this, but the only interpretation that makes sense to me has as its basis the fact that the anti-equality amendment is slipping below 50% in the polls. Being that amendments to the state constitution need at least 50% of the vote to pass, anything less than that is a defeat for the amendment, and speaking strictly for myself, I would presume that a longtime political operative like Andy Parrish would know this — and also know when to stop wasting time on a lost (albeit personally lucrative) cause and start working on something else. If anyone has a better explanation, I’d like to hear it.

Romney-Ryan: Debates, Dough, and the Dead-Cat Bounce

7:39 pm in 2012 election, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Romney Ryan 2012

(photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr)

One of the more, erm, interesting conspiracy theories expressed about the first Obama-Romney debate is that Obama threw the debates in order to hurt the downticket Democratic races so he will continue to have a GOP House to use as an excuse for not doing much in the way of progressivism in his next term.

The problem with this theory is this fact: Romney was poised to lose money to House and Senate GOP candidates before last night:

The Romney campaign is experiencing what some officials believe could be the beginning of a mass exodus of big money donors diverting their cash away from the Republican presidential hopeful and toward Republican candidates for the House and Senate races more likely to win in November, the FOX Business Network has learned.

The trend isn’t at the acute stage, at least not yet, said one person with direct knowledge of the matter. This person, a major player in Romney’s New York fundraising circles, confirmed to FOX Business that a few New York donors have backed away from financial commitments to the Romney campaign and instead said they will spend their money to help the Republicans hold on to the House of Representatives, and pick up seats in the Senate.

But another person with direct knowledge of the matter says the trend, though nascent, is more geographically broad based, and reflects an increasing degree of anxiety both with what they believe is the tentative nature of the Romney campaign, and recent poll numbers that show President Obama with a lead, particularly in key battleground states, that some Republican contributors are starting to believe is insurmountable.

I’d read a similar story in Huff Post on this topic; I also seem to remember another story (which of course I can’t find now) where it was stated that Romney had one week to go before big donors like Adelson dumped him and concentrated on the House and Senate races. If Obama really did throw the debate — something about which I’m agnostic — then what he did, in essence, was to force Adelson and the Kochs to keep spending money on Mitt Romney, thus denying that cash to downticket Republicans

The irony is that Romney’s success or failure isn’t really impacting the rest of the ticket. per Charlie Cook. They’re failing on their own, without Mitt’s help. But Senate candidates are still distancing themselves from Mittens — and particularly from his running mate Paul Ryan:

In Connecticut, McMahon rejected Romney’s comments about 47 percent of Americans, saying “the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be.” She is running against Democratic U.S. Representative Chris Murphy for the seat of retiring independent Senator Joe Lieberman.

Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for Murphy, said in a statement that McMahon’s decision not to attend the Ryan events showed she wanted to “run” from her party’s presidential ticket.

Murphy’s campaign also tried to use the Ryan fundraising visit to tie McMahon to the vice presidential nominee’s proposal to revamp Medicare, the government’s health-care program for the elderly.

[...]

Starting in 2023, Ryan’s plan would convert Medicare into a voucher program, offering seniors a fixed-dollar amount of support based on a competitive bidding process.

McMahon’s campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment.

To sum up: Republican Congressional and Senate candidates have been worried about the effect of Romney-Ryan on their races, even though Charlie Cook states that Romney-Ryan’s flounderings aren’t the main reason their campaigns are having such surprisingly tough going (may I suggest it might be because the Republicans have burned their bridges with seniors, a group whose white male members they usually woo, by going Full Metal Tea Party on them?). Now that Romney’s getting what looks like a lift from the debate, the Big Sugardaddy money that was poised to be diverted away from Romney and into downticket races is going to stay firmly anchored at the top of the ticket, and by the time it becomes obvious that the lift was a dead-cat bounce, it’ll be too late in the game to repurpose that dough. Awwwww.

Paul Ryan Already Making Excuses for a Loss to Rob Zerban?

5:41 am in 2012 election, 2012 election, jerks, Politics, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

(photo: NewsHour / flickr)

Golly gosh gee, step away from the internet for a day and holy heck breaks loose.

Seems that Politico’s Roger Simon, in a rather heavy-handed article that he now claims (after the fact, as Joe Gandelman points out) was intended as satire, pushed the idea that Paul Ryan is a Nice Respectable Wonk (as opposed to a truth-challenged numbers-fudging granny-starver) who is manfully rebelling against being contaminated by #Romneyshambles campaign cooties.

Thing is, much of this is very likely true.

Ryan may not actually call Romney “Stench”, as in “Stench of Failure”, but I suspect that Ryan’s surrogates — or those Beltway Bozos who may or may not like Ryan personally but want to protect him because he’s a prominent standard bearer for austerity, pushing the Overton Windows rightward so that what was unthinkable becomes discussable, and eventually policy — are anticipating that not only will Ryan not be our next vice president, he might not even remain a sitting congressmember, and they’re looking for ways to soften the damage to Ryan’s political stock. By pushing, via alleged humor or other means, the idea that Manly Rogue Ryan is oh so different from Loser Wuss Mitt, they seek to obscure the fact neither of them would be on the 2012 GOP ticket if they didn’t march in lockstep with their base and their donors on all the issues that matter: Killing Social Security and Medicare, slashing taxes for the rich, abolishing the EPA, you know the drill.

There’s one problem with trying to promote the Manly Rogue Ryan image: He’s apparently scared stiff of debating Rob Zerban.

Ryan, who has debated every single opponent in every congressional race before this one, even opponents who had less than $5,000 in the bank, won’t get anywhere near Rob Zerban. It’s a little over a month to Election Day, and Ryan still hasn’t committed to debates at all, even though he and his campaign representatives make the occasional semi-encouraging mouth noise while continuing to drag their feet. It’s got so bad that Marge Krupp and John Heckenlively, who ran to represent Wisconsin’s First Congressional District in 2008 and 2010 respectively, wrote a letter earlier this week to Kevin Seifert, Paul Ryan’s campaign manager, urging the Congressman to return to Wisconsin for a debate with Rob Zerban

Just as Michele Bachmann’s sudden decision earlier this month to start running ads against her opponent Jim Graves can be explained by recent polling showing Graves within the margin of error against her, Ryan’s decision round about that same time to start running his own ads is an indication that he knows he cannot count on winning either the vice-presidency or his current House seat. Another indication would be the effort, satirical or not, to preemptively pin the blame for both losses on Mitt Romney.