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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 →

Bad News and Good News on the Buying of US Democracy

9:07 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The bad news: There are at least 25 million-dollar-plus conservative sugar-daddy donors who all by themselves are shoveling tens of millions of dollars (that we know of) into the 2012 election.

The good news: While rich old white men aren’t shy about coughing up dough for Republicans, corporations aren’t rushing to make donations to conservative causes and candidates at quite the rate that had been feared would obtain in the wake of Citizens United:

…When the Supreme Court handed down its five-to-four Citizens United decision in 2010, pre-vetting Mitt Romney’s credo that “corporations are people,” apocalyptic Democrats, including Obama, predicted that the election would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the likes of Chevron and General Electric. But publicly traded, risk-averse corporations still care more about profits than partisanship. They tend to cover their bets by giving to both parties. And they are fearful of alienating customers and investors. Witness, most recently, the advertisers who fled Rush Limbaugh, or the far bigger brands (­McDonald’s and Wendy’s, Coke and Pepsi) that severed ties with the conservative lobbying mill responsible for pushing state “stand your ground” laws like the one used to justify the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. While corporations and unions remain serious players in the campaign of 2012, their dollars don’t match those of the sugar daddies, who can and do give as much as they want to the newfangled super-PACs.

Why do we have this silver lining? It’s because of the work of folks like Spocko, Color of Change, and other people and groups that punch well above their weight. Take a bow, folks.

Santorum Picks Up On Romney-Paul Arrangement

1:40 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Six weeks ago, back when Romney seemed ascendant, Jon Walker commented that Mitt Romney would do well to be very, very nice to Ron Paul, as Paul holds Romney’s fate in his hands:

With Mitt Romney now on a glide path to the Republican Party’s nomination, there is one thing that could completely doom his chances of becoming President and that is Ron Paul. Paul’s dedicated base might not be large enough for him to win the nomination, but it is large enough to destroy Romney’s hopes in the general.

A week later, the Washington Post reported on the friendship — and de facto alliance — between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul:

The remaining candidates in the winnowed Republican presidential field are attacking one another with abandon, each day bringing fresh headlines of accusations and outrage.

But Mitt Romney and Ron Paul haven’t laid a hand on each other.

They never do.

[...]

Romney’s aides are “quietly in touch with Ron Paul,” according to a Republican adviser who is in contact with the Romney campaign and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its internal thinking. The two campaigns have coordinated on minor things, the adviser said — even small details, such as staggering the timing of each candidate’s appearance on television the night of the New Hampshire primary for maximum effect.

One advantage for Romney is that Paul’s presence in the race helps keep the GOP electorate fractured. But there is also a growing recognition that the congressman plans to stay in the contest over the long term — and that accommodating him and his supporters could help unify Republican voters in the general election against President Obama.

“Ron Paul wants a presence at the convention,” the adviser said — and Romney, if he is the nominee, would grant it.

Of course Romney would grant it. As Jon Walker said six weeks ago:

If I were Romney I might even consider using the excuse of “reaching out to Paul’s base for the sake of party unity” as a convenient way to justify tacking to the left after basically securing the nomination.

And now, this week, Rick Santorum’s finally picked up on all of this:

Asked at a Tea Party rally here why former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas seemed to be ganging up on Santorum during Wednesday’s debate in Arizona, the former senator from Pennsylvania quipped, “Yeah, look, I didn’t know we picked president and vice president before the election.

“The coordination that I felt at that debate was pretty clear,” he said. “I felt like messages were being slipped behind my chair. It’s pretty remarkable that in 20 debates, Ron Paul never attacked Mitt Romney.”

Frankly, I’ve been astonished that Santorum didn’t start publicly addressing this before this week just passed.

More on the Romney-Paul arrangement — or “bromance” — in the video above.

None Dare Call Them Racist: GOP Fan Group CPAC Hosting White Nationalist VDARE Founder

12:23 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Yet another one for the “They Say They’re Not Bigots, But…” file:

Following speeches from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Michele Bachmann, CPAC is hosting the panel “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity” with Peter Brimelow, the founder and head of VDARE.com.

VDARE is a White Nationalist website, run by Brimelow, which frequently publishes the works of anti-Semitic and racist writers and is named after Virginia Dare, who is believed to be the first child of English parents born in the Americas. Brimelow, an immigrant from Great Britain, expresses his fear of the loss of America’s white majority, blames non-white immigrants for social and economic problems and urges the Republican Party to give up on minority voters and focus on winning the white vote. He also said that a New York City subway is the same as an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, “an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored.”

Res ispa loquitor.

UPDATE: And guess what? Brimelow’s not the only white supremacist to be given an honored spot at CPAC. Robert Vandervoort, of ProEnglish and American Renaissance infamy, is there as well, cuddling up with the National Review‘s staff racist, John Derbyshire.

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney’s Best Friend, Neatly Splits Anti-Mitt Primary Vote

9:11 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Ron Paul, far from being the ultimate anti-establishment guy he’s advertised to be, is working his tail off to ensure his good friend Mitt Romney wins the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. That’s not me saying that, that’s the Washington Post saying that:

The Romney-Paul alliance is more than a curious connection. It is a strategic partnership: for Paul, an opportunity to gain a seat at the table if his long-shot bid for the presidency fails; for Romney, a chance to gain support from one of the most vibrant subgroups within the Republican Party.

“It would be very foolish for anybody in the Republican Party to dismiss a very real constituency,” said one senior GOP aide in Washington who is familiar with both camps. “Ron Paul plays a very valuable part in the process and brings a lot of voters toward the Republican Party and ultimately into the voting booth, and that’s something that can’t be ignored.”

Ever wonder why Romney and Paul have avoided attacking each other, much less with the same sort of vigor that they attack the other Republicans in the race? Now you know.

Look at the results of the last two primaries. The not-Mitt vote was much stronger than the Mitt vote, but split between four candidates. Ron Paul’s function is to help Mitt by making sure it stays split.

If GOP Base Voters Aren’t Racists, Why Did Gingrich Win South Carolina?

5:26 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The Republicans get really ticked off when anyone suggests that they play the race card. Oh, do they get ticked off. I knew Michael Steele was doomed as Republican National Committee Chair, despite setting up a year which saw the GOP pick up several statehouses along with the US House of Representatives, when he dared say what everyone knows but won’t admit: That the racist-as-all-get-out Southern Strategy was not, as Republicans like to claim, abandoned when Nixon left the White House in disgrace, but in fact has been in use for over four decades.

But of course, racism is at the heart of the modern Republican Party, especially in South Carolina. Newt Gingrich knows this very well, which is why he picked a fight with the NAACP a week before the South Carolina primary — and then, to rub more salt into black wounds under the guise of “outreach”, visited an African Methodist Episcopal church in Columbia, South Carolina. The pictures and footage of Gingrich daring to repeat his race-baiting at the AME church were all over the local South Carolina media, effectively ringing a dinner bell to the racists who (thanks to nearly half a century of the GOP’s use of the Southern Strategy) make up a non-trivial part of the national Republican base and the lion’s share of the Palmetto State GOP’s base; while Republican turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire wasn’t especially higher this year than in 2008, GOP turnout in South Carolina was up by a full third over 2008 — and Gingrich was the beneficiary of that boost in turnout.

It is Gingrich’s skill at playing to a racist base, a skill honed in his years representing Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, that has taken what many commentators proclaimed was a sure nomination win for Romney and created the prospect of a brokered convention, if not an outright Gingrich win before the convention is held.

UPDATE: Here’s another big fat hint that this has to do with race-baiting. Remember how the evangelicals were all lining up behind Rick Santorum, who was expected to do really well in South Carolina? Well, Santorum didn’t do all that well in South Carolina, and I suspect it was because of his recently touting his support for the Martin Luther King voting rights bill. This, coupled with Gingrich’s doing his calculated race-baiting against the NAACP, likely led many of Santorum’s backers into the arms of Newt, as well as stirring up for Newt some of the base voters who’d been contemplating sitting this one out.

UPDATE 2: Note that Gingrich likes to call Obama “the food stamp president”. This, combined with the “food stamp” smear he directed against the NAACP, is quite telling. Wonder how long it is before he shows up at an AME church in Florida to tick off the parishioners in the name of “outreach” and throw some more racist fodder to the white GOP base?

South Carolina GOP Primary Turnouts, 2008 and 2012

8:46 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

While the 2012 Republican caucus and primary turnouts in Iowa and New Hampshire (121,503 and 248,485, respectively) weren’t substantially different from 2008 (119,188 and 234,851 respectively), particularly considering the population growth in both states over the past four years, South Carolina’s 2012 turnout — 600,421 with 99.5% of precincts reporting — is markedly higher, nearly 155,000 more than in 2008.

My take is that this was the result of the TheoCons (UPDATE: What I for a long time have been calling “the religio-racist right”) pulling out all the stops to keep Romney from sailing unimpeded to the nomination.

Next up: Florida, which could, if Newt wins it, lead to the mother of all brokered conventions.

(To be crossposted to Mercury Rising.)

A Sellout (or Three) Too Far? Obama’s 2012 Support Collapsing in Wake of Latest Betrayals

10:13 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

In the wake of last month’s elections, polling showed that a non-trivial portion of Americans aren’t too crazy about Republicans or Democrats, but feel that since the Democrats and Obama didn’t keep their promises, there was no reason to care, much less vote.

Obama’s response: Pull a Bill Clinton and tack to the right — and betray the people who voted for him in 2008 over and over and over again.

Oddly enough, this didn’t cause Americans to flock to his side. In fact, the opposite has occurred — he’s now so unpopular that Mitt Romney, the least-teabaggerish of the GOP contenders and the likely winner of the 2012 Republican nomination for president — would beat him if the election were held today:

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have sunk to the lowest level of his presidency, so low that he’d lose the White House to Republican Mitt Romney if the election were held today, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

The biggest reason for Obama’s fall: a sharp drop in approval among Democrats and liberals, apparently unhappy with his moves toward the center since he led the party to landslide losses in November’s midterm elections. At the same time, he’s gained nothing among independents.

“He’s having the worst of both worlds right now,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the national survey.

“As he moves to the center, he’s not picking up support among independents and he’s having some fall-off among his base. If his strategy is to gain independents and keep the Democrats in tow, it isn’t working so far.”

Only 42 percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing, and 50 percent disapprove. Worse yet, the poll was taken on December 2 — right after his screw-the-civil-servants plan (aka the pay freeze for Federal employees) was announced; the negative effects of his Poor Tax plan haven’t been felt yet on his numbers, but they will be soon.

And so long as the economy continues to tank for most Americans — a situation that raising taxes on the poorest third of Americans while giving every single millionaire in the US over $139,000 in free money is not going to fix, as John Maynard Keynes (or Jon Walker) could tell him — his poll numbers will continue to go down.

The choice is his: He can continue to act like a Republican and see his numbers tank, or he can tack back away from the far right and back to the center and left, and be re-elected.

Think hard, Mister President.

Governor Gutshot to Impoverished ER Patients: Get the Hell out!

7:45 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Dog bites man. Sun rises in east. Tim Pawlenty plays "kick the starving poor person (who’s probably black anyway) to win the CPAC vote":

Appearing on Fox News’s "On the Record with Greta Van Sustren" last night, Pawlenty said the federal law that mandates ER treatment should be repealed.

"Well, for one thing you could do is change the federal law so that not every ER is required to treat everybody who comes in the door, even if they have a minor condition," Pawlenty said. "They should be — if you have a minor condition, instead of being at the really expensive ER, you should be at the primary care clinic."

Supporters of the federal law would contend that many people go to ERs precisely because they do not have the insurance to pay for a primary care physician.

As usual, my absentee governor, in his bid to win the votes of the evil heartless racist yahoos known as "Republican base voters", goes the extra mile in terms in venality, stupidity, ignorance and inhumanity.

That Federal law that Governor Gutshot complains about? It already allows emergency rooms to turn away persons with non-emergency health conditions (h/t mcjoan). But he either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care — or quite possibly both — which is funny as hell as he used to run a law practice with his former good buddy Eric Magnuson, who he appointed as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court two years ago. (I say "former" because Chief Justic Magnuson has himself become disenchanted with his former law partner’s fiscally-hostile attitude towards Minnesota’s justice system.)

If the 2012 Republican presidential primary can be described as a race to the bottom, ethically, morally and intellectually, then Gutshot’s working hard to stake out the Challenger Deep.

Memo to Dems: Rahm, Not Hippies, Caused 1994 Debacle (and Will Cause 2010 and 2012 Debacles If You Keep Heeding Him)

8:19 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The Conventional Wisdom, eagerly promoted by a conventional media that keeps pushing the frames of discussion inexorably toward fascism and right-wingery, holds that the Democratic loss of Congress in 1994 — an event so devastating to the party that it’s typically referred to as simply "1994" in much the same way that Bin Laden’s attacks on the US are referred to as simply "9/11" — was caused by Bill Clinton’s and the Democratic Congress’ pushing too far leftward: Raising taxes, trying to reform health care, yadda yadda yadda. This take on 1994 is being pushed very hard right now, particularly by Republicans and their conservative Dem Blue Dogs buddies, and other fellow travelers looking to kill meaningful health care reform and replace it with Co-Ops and Triggers, alive, alive-oh.

What this airbrushes out of the picture are a few key details:

– The Democrats were in the midst of the House Post Office Scandal, which ultimately took Dan Rostenkowski from the Speaker’sHouse Ways and Means chair to a jail cell [correction: Rostenkowski was Chiar of the House Ways and Means Committee, not Speaker, in 1994. At other times, the Representative was Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Deputy Majority Whip. (h/t Mimir)]. (Ironically, he was busted for doing things that not only were penny-ante offenses, but had been perfectly legal up until recently; even Republican congressman Bill Frenzel of Minnesota said as much. Nevertheless, the media made a bigger deal out of this than they did out of Iran-Contra.)

– The Democratic base was further demoralized by the determination of the Clinton Administration to act in accordance with pro-corporate DLC, Blue Dog, Third Way principles that required them to screw their base and even Democratic legislators over issues such as "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" and most especially with the infamous "North American Free Trade Agreement", aka NAFTA — which screwed and screws both American and Mexican workers by playing them against each other to keep their wages low while American corporations make money from both groups.

And guess who was the architect and chief cheerleader for NAFTA? Just guess. (Hint: It’s the same guy who’s been allowing the Blue Dogs — many of whom he personally helped elect and who he protects above all else — to screw us on health care reform and other issues.)

That’s right: Rahm Emanuel.

The bottom line: Rahm helped cause 1994, but with the TradMed’s and Villagers’ aid successfully pinned the blame on the Democratic base for pushing Clinton to be too "liberal". Now he’s trying it again — but this time, there’s a loud and active faction in the new media that’s working to correct the record, and to keep him from screwing us yet again to make his corporate buddies happy.

Ironically enough, Rahm himself says that 1994 happened in part because Bill Clinton didn’t do what he was elected to do. In 2008, we elected Barack Obama on his campaign promises to reform health care, get us out of Iraq, and shut down Gitmo, among other things — and Rahm has been one of the key forces, if not the key force, telling Obama to "go slow" on all of these promises.

Go out and spread the word — via letters to the editor, e-mails, and the Spotlight function on posts that you like. Let’s show Rahm that it’s only 1994 again if he doesn’t stop what he’s doing now.