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Front-Runner for Minnesota GOP Chair Job: Marjorie Holsten, The Anti-Porn Prom Mom Featured on The Daily Show!

5:51 am in Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Marjorie Holsten interviewed by The Daily Show

There are ten persons in the running to replace Tony Sutton, the failed taco baron who failed even harder at politics, as the Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. (Pat Shortridge did step in to serve out the remainder of Sutton’s chair term, but he’s not in the running for a full term.) One of these people is Marjorie Holsten, who you may remember from her appearance on The Daily Show as the outraged woman who objected to local 18-year-old Mike Stone — not her own son, but someone else’s — bringing an actress from adult movies to his high-school prom as his date.

Sally Jo Sorensen, who has another video of Ms. Holsten in action at her website, is rooting for Ms. Holsten to win. So am I.

Huntsman to GOP: STFU about Benghazi, You Morons

5:16 pm in jerks, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Jon Huntsman

Jon Huntsman, who is probably this close to following in the footsteps of another sane former Republican presidential hopeful, Charlie Crist, and bailing on the Ship of Fools that is the modern GOP, unloaded on his dorkier political brethren and cistern thus:

Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Monday urged lawmakers, including those in his own party, to temper their criticism of the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, said that it would have been nearly impossible for authorities to instantly obtain accurate intelligence about who was responsible for the September attack, which resulted in the death of four officials. Because of that, he said, recent criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for not immediately declaring the attack an act of terror was either politically motivated or misplaced.

“The issue of Benghazi, I think you can attribute to the fog of war, more than anything else,” Huntsman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “When you’re in a wartime setting and you have an attack like that — let’s face it. No one is prepared for an attack like that. There is, as Robert McNamara used to say, there is a fog of war. And it takes awhile to sort through the details. And it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for the political class to point fingers before you even know what was behind it. And you’re not going to know that [immediately].”

Huntsman’s words fell on deaf ears. Susan Rice is a black woman, and the only black women named Rice that the GOP likes are those that fawn and toady to PNAC Platoon neocon leaders like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. The Republican Party is totally a prisoner of the base whose rabid racism and xenophobia the Party has spent decades encouraging as a way to get them to cut rich people’s taxes. You cut taxes, see, and then the gummint doesn’t have the money to spend on nonexistent Cadillacs for nonexistent black welfare queens in Deee-troit. (Ever wonder why Reagan had his nonexistent black welfare queen driving an American-made car as opposed to a Mercedes or Toyota? Hmmmm. But I digress.)

The next two years are going to be very ugly.

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.

Support for Minnesota’s Photo ID Amendment Dropping Dramatically

6:19 pm in 2012 election, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

I’m sure you’ve all seen polls showing that the general public strongly supports the various ALEC-inspired “voter ID” bills and constitutional amendments being pushed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country. That was definitely the case in Minnesota: As recently as May of this year, a Minnesota Poll conducted by the StarTribune showed 80% support for the GOP’s proposed Photo ID ballot amendment to the state constitution.

That was then, this is now:

Slightly more than half of likely voters polled — 52 percent — want the changes built around a photo ID requirement, while 44 percent oppose them and 4 percent are undecided.

That is a far cry from the 80 percent support for photo ID in a May 2011 Minnesota Poll, when the issue was debated as a change in state law. Support among Democrats has cratered during a year marked by court battles, all-night legislative debates and charges that the GOP is attempting to suppress Democratic votes.

Since this is a referendum on changing the constitution, a mere plurality won’t suffice. It must have at least 50% “yes” votes to pass. It had 80% back in May, and it’s dropped to 52% now — and that’s without much in the way of a general campaign on the “vote no” side’s part.

What I find particularly interesting is the indie vote. Independents generally side with the Republicans in favoring this ballot amendment, according to this poll — but I wonder if that will continue to be the case once the word gets out statewide on how much it will cost state and especially local governments, the latter of which are already having a much harder time meeting their budget goals since the state Republicans voted for more austerity.

As I mentioned last week
, I suspect that the cost argument is what, if explained and disseminated widely, will most strongly resonate with many voters. It certainly is the one the state Republicans seem to fear the most.

Earth to Allen Quist: It’s 2012, Not 2009

11:05 am in 2012 election, Republican Party, Tea Party, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Fresh off a hard-fought primary battle against the hapless hothead Mike Parry, Allen Quist (who most Minnesotans remember as that really creepy guy who keeps getting his ass handed to him in statewide and US congressional elections, most notably by Arne Carlson in the Republican gubernatorial primaries in 1994) is tanned, rested and ready to get his ass kicked once again — this time, as Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes, by cribbing from the Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan playbooks:

At a Rochester (MN) Tea Party Patriot meeting on September 20, 2012, MNCD1 Republican candidate Allen Quist claimed that “bureaucratic panels” created under the Affordable Care Act would foster euthanasia.

[...]

Think Progress’s Igor Volsky reports in Paul Ryan Tells Florida Seniors That Obamacare Includes Death Panels that the Wisconsin politician revived PolitiFact 2009′s Lie of the Year: that the legislation would bureaucratic “death panels.”

[...]

Ryan isn’t alone in this. In June, Sarah Palin posted on Facebook (via Washington Post):

“I stand by everything I wrote in that warning to my fellow Americans”

— Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), in a Facebook post titled “‘Death Panel’ Three Years Later’

It’s still horse hockey. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave the new posting “Four Pinocchios” the rating for “Whoppers” in  the June 27, 2012, Sarah Palin, ‘Death Panels’ and ‘Obamacare.’

Um, Earth to Allen? It’s 2012, not 2009. It’s pretty hard for a Republican to run against Obamacare in 2012 when the guy at the top of the GOP ticket created Romneycare, Obamacare’s precursor, in Massachusetts. (By the way, somebody should mention that to Paul Ryan as well.) Palin can get away with it because she’s no longer a real politician, but a grifter cashing in before the effects of the tanning beds win out over the botox and she no longer inspires fantasies in the minds of aging Tea Partier males. Actual viable GOP candidates? Not so much.

Tim Walz, the guy Quist thinks he can beat, must be chuckling to himself right now.

(Crossposted to Daily Kos.)

Prominent Florida Republicans: Yes, GOP Trying to Suppress Black Vote

1:07 pm in Elections, Politics, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Mugshot of former Chair of the Republican Party of Florida Jim Greer

Most Republicans will deny fiercely that their ALEC-fueled efforts to ram through voter ID and other voter-suppression laws aren’t about suppressing the votes of black Americans. But recently (h/t Meteor Blades), two prominent Florida Republicans have come forward to state, on the record, that this is exactly what the GOP is trying to do.

First off, here’s former Florida Republican Party chair Jim Greer:

In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, Greer, who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

Greer’s charges are being pooh-poohed by Republicans quick to point out that he is in deep legal trouble, as if that by itself somehow totally disproved what he said. But they can’t use that gambit against former Florida governor Charlie Crist who went on MSNBC recently and blasted Rick Scott, his fellow Florida Republican and his successor as Florida governor, for pushing “shameless” voter-suppression tactics such as photo ID laws, preventing former felons from voting, and heavy-handed purging of voter rolls — and agrees with US Attorney General Eric Holder that the intent of these tactics is to suppress the black vote, Jim-Crow-fashion:

Mitchell noted that Attorney General Eric Holder had recently compared voter photo ID requirements to Jim Crow laws, telling the NAACP that they were the equivalent of “poll taxes.”

“He’s on the right track,” the former governor agreed. “Anytime that you put more impediments into a citizen’s right — a legal citizen’s right to vote and make that more difficult, you impede the natural right of democracy and a citizen’s right to have their voice heard in important elections.”

By the way: Aren’t you wondering why, instead of seeing this news in your local paper or on your evening broadcast TV news, or hearing about it on drive-time radio news programs, you’re probably hearing it first from me? Yeah, me too.

Did Cliff Stearns (R-FL) Collude With Komen and Ari Fleischer to Defund Planned Parenthood?

1:32 pm in Politics by Phoenix Woman

Political Genius Ari Fleischer

Stearns spokesman Paul Flusche denies it, but I’d like to hear that from Cliff Stearns’ own mouth. Preferably under oath.

Specifically, I’d like to get Representative Stearns to answer this question, under oath: “Did you have any contact with any member of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, or anyone working with them either for free or for pay or other compensation, concerning their grant money to Planned Parenthood?”

The evidence right now is tenuous, but the timeline is suggestive:

September 15, 2011: Stearns announces the launch of a far-reaching investigation into Planned Parenthood; investigation has all the earmarks of a classic “fishing expedition”.

Sometime before December, 2011: Former Bush White House press secretary and conservative pundit/lobbyist Ari Fleischer hired by Susan G. Komen foundation.

By the way, Cliffy doesn’t have a challenger yet in FL-06. Time to get him one, maybe?

UPDATE: What’s also interesting, as RHRealityCheck points out, is how Komen’s stories have changed dramatically over the past few days, as more facts come to light that shoot down each of their excuses in turn.

How Much is That Moron in The Window? The John Kline Story

8:33 pm in jerks, Politics, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

I know that Republican legislators generally aren’t picked for their brainpower — intelligence might make it harder for them to follow orders, and the idea is for the mass of them to do whatever their staffers (who often are hand-picked by their top donors or their patrons within the party) tell them to do — but really, is there a dumber member of Congress, at least in Minnesota, than John Kline?

Here’s a nice example from the town hall he held in the junior high school of Shakopee, a Twin Cities suburb in his congressional district. Now you all know how Congress is scrambling, in the wake of last Sunday’s 60 Minutes exposé, to pass the STOCK Act to outlaw insider trading by members of Congress. It’s not passed yet, but it might be by the end of the week.

According to John Kline, it’s already illegal — as he repeatedly states to an audience filled with people who know better — and he seems to imply that it’s been illegal for some time.

Even better: He claims that he never got a Congressional pay raise over the last four years, but the truth is that he got two pay raises, both pretty sizable ones. I don’t know how rich, dumb, or both one has to be not to notice when your take-home pay starts going up; I’m sure most of the folks filling that Shakopee junior-high auditorium aren’t so rich or so stupid that they wouldn’t notice a few extra bucks in their paychecks.

Just watch the video. Kline has to be seen to be believed. I almost suspect he’s really a wannabee Grecian Formula model who took a wrong turn on his way to the casting call and wound up at Republican headquarters instead; that’s the only explanation that makes sense for his career.