Monday, November 9, 2015

This Is What Being a Front Runner Is Like

Dr. Ben Carson is not happy with the media scrutiny that his life story — as told by him — is getting.  West Point scholarship, violent youth, his relationship with a snakeoil company, even his time at Yale, have all come under the microscope.  And it’s all the fault of the “librul mudia.”

Known for his calm demeanor, Carson appeared unusually agitated during the press conference, accusing the press of engaging in a “witch hunt” to tarnish his reputation.

“There is a desperation on behalf of some to try to find a way to tarnish me,” Carson said. “They have been looking through everything. They have been talking to everyone I have ever known and everybody I have ever seen. There has got to be a scandal.”

Now that Carson is neck-and-neck with real estate mogul Donald Trump in both national polls and in several key primary states, details of his personal history have come under the spotlight. The retired pediatric neurosurgeon, who has never held elected office, has leaned heavily on his inspiring life story during the 2016 campaign, but even he concedes that some details are “fictitious.”

This week, he admitted to CNN that he had changed some facts in an often-told story about his attempt to stab a friend at age 14 after the network was unable to corroborate the incident.

This is how it works: Get a ghost writer to cobble together some bits and pieces of your life, string them together with a compelling theme of up from poverty in the Detroit ghetto to go to Yale and become a renowned doctor, and throw in some embellishments that don’t stand up to fact-checking because you never expect people to actually look into them.  Then when they do, blame it on the fact-checkers because they have it in for you because you’re an outsider and won’t give in to The Man.  Right on.

This really works well when you’re pitching your story to the folks who think the media is already biased against conservatives anyway; it’s an oldie but a goodie because it always works.  Pay no attention to the fact that the same technique was used to great effect on Democrats such as Joe Biden’s speeches, Gary Hart’s vacations, and any number of political hopefuls regardless of party.

Maybe the fact that the Republicans try to sell themselves as the ones who are honest and faithful and without sin so it’s always more schadenfreude-inducing when the sanctimonious are shown to be just as imperfect as the rest of us.  Or maybe it’s just because now Dr. Carson is the front runner along with Donald Trump, and unlike the real estate magnate, can’t say “Yeah, it’s all bullshit but people love me anyway.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Caught Another One

The Iraq war has another casualty.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida struggled on Sunday to give clear answers about whether it was a mistake for the United States to go to war against Iraq in 2003, becoming the latest Republican presidential candidate to trip on the wisdom of the military invasion.

Under a barrage of questions from Chris Wallace of Fox News, Mr. Rubio repeatedly said “it was not a mistake” for President George W. Bush to order the invasion based on the intelligence he had at the time. But Mr. Rubio grew defensive as Mr. Wallace pressed him to say flatly whether he now believed the war was a mistake. Mr. Rubio chose instead to criticize the questions themselves, saying that in “the real world” presidents have to make decisions based on evidence presented to them at the time.

“It’s not a mistake — I still say it was not a mistake because the president was presented with intelligence that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, it was governed by a man who had committed atrocities in the past with weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Rubio said on “Fox News Sunday.”

A moment later, as Mr. Wallace tried to pin him down on his view, Mr. Rubio began to reply, “Based on what we know now, I think everyone agrees — — ” but Mr. Wallace cut him off before he finished the thought.

“So was it a mistake now?” Mr. Wallace asked.

“I don’t understand the question you’re asking,” Mr. Rubio said.

At one point Mr. Rubio, in discussing the importance of hindsight on the Iraq war, raised a recent boxing fight to make a point. “Based on what we know, a lot of things — based on what we know now, I wouldn’t have thought Manny Pacquiao was going to beat, uh, in that fight a couple weeks ago — — ” Mr. Rubio said before Mr. Wallace interrupted.

The back-and-forth resulted in a three-minute video clip that Republican opponents could use against Mr. Rubio in the future, given that he came across as a politician used to debating fine points and nuances in the United States Senate — a problem that then-Senator John Kerry faced in his presidential run in 2004 — rather than as a seasoned leader used to giving clear statements. Mr. Rubio’s readiness for the presidency has been questioned among some Republican voters, given than he is a 43-year-old first-term senator, and moments like the boxing reference seemed discordant on a subject like the Iraq war.

I love it that it’s Fox News — supposedly the safe haven for the Republicans and the warmongers — that is trapping the candidates with this question.

Note to all once and future candidates: The answer is simple.  It was a mistake to go into Iraq in the first place even knowing what we knew then.  The outcome was foreseeable, the response from the hardliners such as al-Qaeda was predictable, and the birth of ISIS was inevitable even if our troops had stayed in Iraq after the combat mission had ended.  A lot of people were saying it then and sadly were proven right.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pride Goeth…


The NFL has suspended Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady without pay for the first four games of the season, fined the New England Patriots $1 million and taken away two draft picks as punishment for deflating footballs used in the AFC title game, the league said in a statement Monday.


The Patriots will also lose a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.

Excuse my schadenfreude, but the Patriots and Tom Brady have been either dismissive or arrogant about this whole stupid thing, and I’ll bet that most of this punishment is the league hitting back at them for being such pricks.

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Tale of Two States

Policy.Mic looks at Minnesota and Wisconsin — one with Democrats in charge, the other with Republicans running the place — and compares and contrasts.

Since 2011, Minnesota has been doing quite well for itself. The state has created more than 170,000 jobs, according to the Huffington Post. Its unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fifth-lowest in the country, and far below the nationwide rate of 5.7% — and the state government boasts a budget surplus of $1 billion. Forbesconsiders Minnesota one of the top 10 in the country for business.


How Minnesota did it: The progressive economic policies in the North Star State came into being after the election of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. In 2010, Dayton surprised many political observers in Minnesota when he managed to win the governor’s mansion, as the first Democrat to seize the governor’s mansion in more than two decades. His political career up until that point was mainly defined by failure, despite the fact that he was a billionaire heir with countless resources.

Dayton’s margin of victory wasn’t impressive, but he was eventually able to make a dramatic mark on the direction of the state’s public policies. He instituted a wide variety of progressive policies that rendered him the “most liberal governor in the country in terms of his willingness to raise taxes and to spend,” University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs told Mother Jones.

Just across the Mississippi River is the state of Wisconsin.  The governor, Scott Walker, is the darling of the right wing of the GOP (sorry, that’s redundant), so he must be governing a paradise on earth:

By a number of measures, Wisconsin hasn’t fared as well as Minnesota. As the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports, Wisconsin’s job growth has been among the worst in the region, and income growth is one of the worst in the country. It has a higher unemployment rate than Minnesota. And the budget is in bad shape:

Our transportation budget has a $750 million hole in it, our health care budget is $760 million in the red, and that’s all on top of a $1.8 billion general budget deficit. Add it up and Walker has essentially taken a balanced budget and turned it into a deficit nearly as large as the one created by the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

Now, no political leader can take full credit or blame for the economic health of the state they oversee — the economy is shaped by a number of structural factors and historic trends that any one politician has little control over. Consider, for example, that Minnesota’s economy was outperforming Wisconsin by a number of measures beginning earlier than the recession.

But here’s what we can say: Dayton’s progressive vision for Minnesota has not ruined the economy, and has likely helped it. Walker’s conservative vision has clearly not ushered in the free market paradise he envisioned. And it’s noteworthy that since the Great Recession and the implementation of their divergent philosophies, Minnesota’s economy has pulled further ahead of Wisconsin in several areas.

So why is Scott Walker even being considered as presidential material?

Oh, and speaking of self-destructing Republican governors:

Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and the Republican-controlled legislature in Kansas is inching ever so slowly toward expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. If Kansas did expand Medicaid, it would be the latest in a list of deep-red states—including Arkansas, Utah, and Indiana—to actually take federal dollars through Obamacare, despite having conservative legislatures and fire-breathing, anti-ACA Republican governors.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kansas Karma

I feel sorry for my friends who live in Kansas and have had to suffer under the rule of Gov. Sam Brownback.  He’s basically gutted the state budget in the name of Tea Party fiscal purity.

The state began bleeding when the governor and his party stalwarts cut taxes to practically nothing and the expected resurrection of Ronald Reagan did not happen, defying the prophecy that he would magically shower the state with money.  Of course they refused to implement anything to do with the evil federal government plans to socialize their healthcare.

But reality has arrived and now the state facing a massive budget deficit.  And it seems that the only way to fix it is through Obamacare.

Ah, the freude is especially schaden today.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NOM Broke

Get out the tiny violin.

On Wednesday, the viciously anti-gay National Organization for Marriage finally released its 2013 tax filings—two days late, in direct violation of federal law. The results are nothing short of brutal. NOM raised $5.1 million last year—a 50 percent drop-off from its 2012 earnings. Two donors accounted for more than half of that money. And the group’s “Education Fund,” which churns out anti-gay propaganda and homophobic calumny, raised less than $1.7 million, a 70 percent decline from 2012. NOM closed out the year more than $2.5 million in debt.

Heh.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of bigots.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sore Loser

Remember when the Gore-Lieberman campaign fought the election fiasco in Florida in 2000 and the Republicans all laughed, called them “Sore-Loserman,” and told them to move on and get over it.  Good times.

The freude is most schaden.

[Thad] Cochran’s turnaround victory in the race on Tuesday was immediately met with criticism by [Chris] McDaniel and tea partiers over his strategy of reaching out to not only Republicans but also Democrats and African-Americans, a move that dismayed tea partiers but isn’t illegal under Mississippi’s open primary laws.

When Cochran was named the winner, McDaniel himself openly questioned the results, and said “there is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.”

“Before this race ends we have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” McDaniel also said.

Move on.  Get over it.  BWAHAHAHAHAHA.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Over The Edge

The defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a primary is reverberating through the halls of Congress and the TV studios.  It was fun to watch the folks on the TV gasp for air as the election results came in.

It’s fair to say that there is a whole lotta schadenfreude going on among those of us who have been waiting for some insurgent to slip over the wall and scatter the GOP leadership like a cat among the pigeons.  This basically insures that the Republicans will now have to run even further to the right in the mid-terms than they were already going to.  And that will be good for the Democrats.

Immigration reform, which barely had a chance as it was, is not only not going to happen this year, it’s probably not going to happen during the remainder of the Obama presidency.  Dave Brat, the man who beat Mr. Cantor (and whose name seems to have been chosen by Charles Dickens), ran on an anti-immigration platform, branding any accommodation for undocumented immigrants — even children — as “amnesty.”  Not only is that bad for the people who would be helped by immigration reform, especially the children of undocumented immigrants who are here through no fault of their own, it puts the Republicans in a big bind.  This was the one thing that they could have used to reach out to Hispanic voters and get them to vote for them.  Now is it not only gone from being passed to being trashed, the GOP is going to run against it just to shore up their base and fend off any more Brat-style attacks from the right.

Not that it was going to do anything anyway, action from Congress is now shut down until January at the earliest.  They might as well just go home and turn the place over to Disney to shuttle the tourists through for the summer.  Mr. Cantor’s job as majority leader was to decide what bills to bring to the floor of the House and now that he’s got nothing left to live for, he’ll have no incentive to do much more than pack up his office.  You’ve got a better chance of getting a pony from Santa than you do of getting anything through Congress now.

In true classy style, the Tea Party is having a feast on the news.  This will embolden them, and it could even effect the outcome of the run-off in the Senate race in Mississippi between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel, and overshadow the fact that a lot of “establishment” Republicans like Lindsay Graham of South Carolina are fending off Tea Party challengers.  All it takes is one win like Mr. Brat and there is new life in them.  We could see a whole new crop of nuts growing over the summer.

What the giddy victors are forgetting is that this was a primary; there’s still the general election, and if the past two election cycles are any guide, the more far right the candidate, the less chance they have of winning that race; just ask Sens. Sharron Angle of Nevada, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, Todd Akin of Missouri, and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware.  Even if Mr. Brat wins the general election, the Virginia 7th district goes from having one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress to the newest kid on the block.  The power doesn’t come with the seat, and Mr. Brat — assuming he wins — would be lucky to have an office above ground in the House Office Building.

So break out the popcorn, kids; this election is going to be fun to watch… as long as you don’t care about what’s not getting done by the people we’ve elected to represent us.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thanks, Ted

Brian Beutler in Salon tells us how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) just handed the GOP a steaming hot turd and perhaps the 2014 elections to the Democrats.

Last week the seams holding together factions of the Republican party burst open once again. And once again, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the guy scraping at them with a scalpel.

He didn’t shut down the government, or talk himself hoarse on the Senate floor. But he did spoil his leadership’s plan to let Senate Democrats increase the debt limit on their own without implicating any individual Republicans — including the highest-ranking Republican, who just happens to be in the midst of an unexpectedly tough election.

This can get a little technical. But suffice it to say that Republicans — for once! — wanted to not filibuster a bill. To avoid the whole 60-vote requirement they’ve made so routine, and just get on to the up-or-down final passage vote. Let 50 Dems and Vice President Biden do all the dirty work.

But ending debate on a bill and going directly to final passage requires consent from everyone in the Senate, and Cruz refused to provide his. Now several Republicans, including Mitch McConnell himself, must wear scarlet letters whenever they face conservative activists, all because Cruz wanted to court another damaging confrontation with Obama and wants the people denying it to him to suffer for their actions.

The bad blood has grown redolent.

This means that the Republicans will try to run against Obamacare, Benghazi!, and anything else they can cook up with Fox News, but it’s going to be really hard to run against the Tea Partiers who are already sharpening their knives to go after the traitors and collaborators that sold the debt ceiling down the river.

U.S. Senate candidate Dwayne Stovall stole some attention Thursday from Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) in the Republican primary against Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

In a new ad, Stovall sits in the bed of a pick-up truck with a golden retriever and equates Cornyn with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“As a U.S. senator from Texas, you vote for Texans, you don’t stab her in the back by voting for cloture on Obamacare. You don’t enslave it’s children with unconstitutional laws and overwhelming debt. And you certainly don’t do all this to please some guy that looks and fights like a turtle,” Stovall says.

McConnell and Cornyn came under fire from conservatives for voting Wednesday to move forward legislation increasing the nation’s borrowing limit.

“I’m a Texan. We Texans don’t need a Beltway turtle telling us how to fight,” Stovall continues, suggesting that Cornyn’s votes have been influenced by McConnell.

I suppose we should chastise Mr. Stovall for making ad hominen attacks on Mitch McConnell’s reptilian resemblance, but if the carapace fits….

Let’s just stand back and let the fun begin.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snakes Eating Snakes

They always turn on their own.

The conservative guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe and his organization, Project Veritas, have been sued for wrongful termination by a former employee.

As first reported by Slate’s David Weigel, Daniel Francisco initiated the lawsuit in Westchester County, N.Y. Supreme Court on Jan. 27. Francisco, who until earlier this year worked as the executive director of Project Veritas, claimed in a court filing that he had been “wrongfully terminated” by Project Veritas, that Project Veritas had “breached its contract” with him by not paying for his final week of employment, and that O’Keefe personally had “defamed” him following his departure from the organization. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and a declaratory judgment to stop O’Keefe from “further defaming” Francisco.

In case you don’t remember, Mr. O’Keefe was the little twerp who dressed up like what he thought a pimp would look like and filmed himself covertly trying to pull some shenanigans on ACORN.  The heavily edited film went viral, ACORN went under, and he became a darling on Fox News.  He then ran into trouble with the feds for trying to pull the same shit on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), but was busted and plead out.

People are lined up around the block to sue him, so I hope Mr. Francisco isn’t paying his lawyer by the hour.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cleaning House

Tea Partiers go ballistic over Boehner.

The outside tea party-aligned group Senate Conservatives Fund is calling for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to be replaced in response to House Republican leadership’s decision to push a clean debt ceiling hike.

The powerful outside group’s call came in an email to supporters on Tuesday, shortly after House Republicans announced that they would give up on previous demands for a debt ceiling extension and instead support a clean hike. In the email Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote:

Republicans are giving up because they know that winning is impossible when their leaders are determined to lose. These leaders have telegraphed weakness to the Democrats and sabotaged conservative efforts so many times that Republicans now have no leverage. There’s only one solution.  John Boehner must be replaced as Speaker of the House.

Hoskins goes on to warn that Republicans will never have any leverage if Boehner stays as Speaker.

“Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage,” Hoskins continued in the email.

The idea of governing by fear and stalemate is a short-sighted and fruitless way to get your way.  At some point, people are going to figure out that you’re all bark with very little bite, and even if they primary someone out of office, they end up losing the general election (vide Sharron Angle of Nevada, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, and Todd Aiken of Missouri).  On those rare occasions where some Tea Party favorite gets into office, they wear out their welcome with their colleagues, i.e. Ted Cruz.  (On the other hand, Tea Party favorites like Louis Gohmert provide hours of mirth on YouTube.)  So the only way they have of getting their way is to block everything, brag about it to their base, and blame the Democrats and the black guy when it blows up in their face.  At some point, the electorate will catch on to them.

Unfortunately, we haven’t reached the saturation point yet.  It probably won’t happen in this election cycle; the GOP will maintain the House and even pick up a Senate seat or two thanks to crazy-ass gerrymandering and bought-and-paid-for Koch-fiend races in safe nutsery districts.

John Boehner will survive this episode, more’s the pity, because the one thing he’s gotten really good at is getting nothing done, and that’s what the Tea Party and the GOP want.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mitch In the Ditch

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has a problem at home.

The Herald-Leader/WKYT Bluegross poll released Thursday evening found 32 percent of those surveyed said they approve of McConnell’s job performance while 60 percent said they disapproved of the job the top Senate Republican has done. That rating is almost the same as Obama’s approval rating in the state, which is 34 percent and his disapproval is about 60 percent.

What’s more, the poll found Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) holds a small 4-point lead over McConnell in the Kentucky Senate race. The poll found Grimes with 46 percent support among Kentucky voters while McConnell has 42 percent support. That finding though is essentially within the poll’s plus or minus 3-point margin of error.

To paraphrase the immortal Jimi Hendrix, ‘scuse me while I schadenfreude.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Up The Creek

The National Review, the organ of the old-school conservatives, is in financial and legal trouble.

Scientist Michael Mann is suing the Review over statements made by Canadian right-wing polemicist and occasional radio stand-in for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn. Steyn was writing on the topic of climate change when he accused Mann of falsifying data and perpetuating intellectual fraud through his research.

Steyn went on to quote paid anti-climate science operative Rand Simberg — an employee of the right-wing think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute — who compared Mann to Penn State’s convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Mann, Simberg said, is “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”

The magazine tried to get the case dismissed, but lost that motion.  Now, no matter what the outcome, they could be out of business just because of legal bills.  It’s never been a money-maker to begin with.  Founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, it has been a voice against civil rights, women, gays, and proudly defended the white plutocracy against all comers.

Conservatives like to point Buckley’s legacy and the Review as the reasonable, moderate edge of an regressive, reactionary party. In its history, the magazine has consistently staked out far-right positions that favor whites over nonwhites and plutocrats over the middle and working classes.

National Review authors have railed against racial integration, called Hitler a left-wing radical, and argued with a straight face that African-Americans are inherently more violent and less civilized than whites.

[Editor Rich] Lowry himself famously declared “We’re winning” the War in Iraq just before catastrophic waves of sectarian violence engulfed the country and permanently scuttled the American-led reconstruction effort.

Lately contributor Mona Charen has authored a series of wildly LGBT-phobic articles, lamenting the mainstreaming of “unusual sexual identities” and accusing parents who allow their transgender children to be themselves of “child abuse.”

Too damn bad.  Heh.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Virginia Is For Looters

Via the Washington Post:

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.

Authorities allege that for nearly two years, the McDonnells repeatedly asked executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. for loans and gifts of money, clothes, golf fees and equipment, trips, and private plane rides. The gifts and loans totaled at least $165,000.

In exchange, authorities allege, the McDonnells worked in concert to lend the prestige of the governor’s office to Williams’s struggling company, Star Scientific, a former small cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements.

McDonnell, 59, is the first governor ever to face criminal charges in Virginia, a state that has prided itself on a history of clean and ethical politics, and the charges will probably accelerate a push for the legislature to tighten state ethics laws.

The criminal prosecution marks a stunning crash for a politician who was considered for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2012 and who, just a year ago, was considered a credible prospective candidate for president.

Mr. McDonnell insists that he is innocent and blames it all on — wait for it — “overreach by the federal government.”

Wow.  That’s a rather ironic statement from someone who tried to pass a law that required that women getting an abortion have a transvaginal ultrasound whether they wanted it or not.

If convicted, Mr. McDonnell could go to prison.  I will leave it to others to come up with their own conclusions as to what kind of overreach he might face there.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Road Closed

If you have been following the story of the George Washington Bridge lane closures last September (and if you haven’t, here’s a timeline), it’s pretty hard not to conclude that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is in a bit of a pothole.

First he laughed off allegation that the lane closures were political retribution for the mayor of Fort Lee’s refusal to endorse him for re-election.  He made jokes — “I was the guy putting out the cones” — or some such hilarity.  Then he was in the flat denial stages and mocking the reporters who kept asking him about it.  Now that it’s been revealed that his deputy chief of staff was thick into it, he’s come out with the “I was lied to!” line.

If you give him the benefit of the doubt and accept the last point — that people did this sort of thing under his nose without him knowing about it — that doesn’t speak very well of his management style.  After all, the person who sent out the smoking gun e-mail — “Time for some traffic troubles in Fort Lee” — was Bridget Ann Kelly, his deputy chief of staff.  That’s not an intern or a low-level administrative clerk; Ms. Kelly doesn’t work in a cubicle.  And if the governor did know about the closure and has been lying about it since September, he’s got a lot of explaining to do.  So far he’s shown that explaining and apologizing is not his strong suit.

Either way, whatever chances he had for getting the GOP nomination in 2016 are now problematic.  Frankly, I never really thought he had much of a chance to begin with; the GOP bases out in the hustings would never forgive him for being nice to President Obama or showing signs of being a moderate from the East Coast, even if it is New Jersey.  On the other hand, the hard-core Tea Partiers probably liked his bully-boy performances; they’ve been lapping it up from Rush Limbaugh for years, and this bridge story is the way they like to see tough-guy politicians kick some liberal ass.

We’ve seen politicians of all parties come back and win from political oblivion before, but I’d be impressed if Mr. Christie can fully recover from this.

Bonus: Jon Stewart’s opening last night nails it.

Short Takes

Chaos reigns in the Central African Republic.

Utah refuses to recognize same-sex marriages that it once allowed.

NJ Governor Christie is in political trouble over bridge closure.

House Republicans want changes to unemployment insurance bill.

Dennis Rodman apologizes for stupid remarks in North Korea.

Friday, January 3, 2014

They Really Hate It

Josh Marshall does the numbers and notes that as more and more people sign up for Obamacare, so grows the rage among the right-wingers.

It is amazing to witness the sheer depths of rage, denial and disgust many people experience as they see millions of people gaining access to affordable health care for the first time. Back on the 31st I wrote this overview which outlined how more than 9 million people now have health care coverage because of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). It now seems like the number is more like 10 million (more on that in a moment).

This evening I mentioned this number on Twitter and saw the full force of denial and outrage as many anti-Obamacare diehards made first contact with the actual number of Americans who’ve gained coverage under the program. More though, it was clear how in the absence of a dead in the water website to cry crocodile tears over, anti-Obamacare hardliners have suddenly gotten a whole lot angrier about Obamacare.


…there are a lot of Obamacare dead-enders out there who just blow a gasket when they make first contact with these numbers. The first claim is that Medicaid expansion somehow doesn’t count. Or it doesn’t count if a 24 year old is now covered under their parents policy because well that happened a while ago or well, something.

The best dead-ender argument is that well, maybe these people who’ve signed up for subsidized private insurance policies won’t end up paying their premiums. When the arguments get down to this level you know you’re dealing with a deep and intense form of denial. I mean, what if all these people change their mind next month and decide they don’t want the coverage after all? What if Obamacare is so bad they all die in the Spring? What if Spartacus had an airplane? If you really, really are hoping for bad news you can come up with anything to keep hope, as it were, alive.

What I find most disturbing is that these conservatives would rather that 9 million people either don’t have adequate health insurance or none at all; that people suffer through catastrophic illnesses and lose their fortune, or have to support a family member because their coverage was null and void because of a pre-existing condition.  That’s not what they’d say out loud, of course — who but a pre-spectral-seeing Scrooge would want poor people to suffer? — but that is the end result.

The real fear they harbor is that the Affordable Care Act will work and they will have been on the losing end of a century-old battle to provide better healthcare for everyone in the country, not just the rich or the employed.

It’s just one more loss to be added to the column along with Social Security, civil rights, women voting, and the many other things they’ve fought against.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Family Feud

Predictable reaction from the Tea Party over the budget deal:

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) displayed a rare flash of anger at outside conservative groups on Wednesday when asked about their opposition to a two-year bipartisan budget deal struck between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

“You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?” a visibly angry Boehner told reporters Wednesday, his tone rising. “They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous.”

Conservative groups Club For Growth, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity all began speaking out against the emerging deal before it was announced on Tuesday evening. These groups hold significant sway among House Republicans and have repeatedly thwarted Boehner’s attempts to govern and pass bills.

You mean like all those proposals that the president came up with that were crafted — some would say cribbed — from Republican ideas (i.e. Obamacare) that were shot down by the G.O.P. before they even got out of the starting gate?  Heh, indeedy.