Stories to Watch: 8/20/11
Good show. Good time. I was up way too late though. Now here’s the news…
One-time Tea Party fave Chris Christie has been taking stances lately that are politically incorrect for a one-time Tea Party fave. After saying “crazies" were responsible for rampant Islamophobia and Sharia paranoia on the right, he now says he believes global warming is real and humans contribute to it. This is a man that some on the right still hold out hope will run for president. But in the party’s current basketcase condition, no freakin’ way.
John Huntsman, who is actually running, also does his best to rule himself out as the nominee. Only nuts are allowed.
Liberal activists and union folks are giving GOP lawmakers a hard time at townhalls over the recess. Sound familiar? Yeah, if this is how Republicans want to do politics, this is the way we’re going to do politics. It’s your bed, GOP. Now lie in it.
Disappointing news out of Wisconsin; Russ Feingold says he won’t run for any office in 2012, meaning both the gubernatorial recall and the seat opening with Sen. Herb Kohl’s retirement are out. It’s a real pity, because polling either race was all his.
Karl Rove thinks Sarah Palin will run. I think it wouldn’t make any damned difference and who cares? Of course, Karl’s just running with the Bushies and trying to drum up excitement for anyone but Rick Perry. But, as Howard Finemann points out, Karl played a big part in Perry’s current popularity in the first place. Those neocons, always running around putting out fires that they themselves set.
Finally, do you think Rick Perry’s an idiot? Ronald Reagan’s chief domestic policy adviser Bruce Bartlett invites you to join the club.
Stories to Watch: 7/5/11
Hope everyone had a good Fourth. I know I enjoyed it. Now here’s the news…
I mentioned earlier today that Richard Cohen compared the GOP to a cult and now it turns out that Republicans have gotten too crazy for David Brooks as well. All of which causes Steve Benen to wonder if the party has lost the punditry. Man, you sure hope so.
Of course, Brooks’ column was the worst thing ever.
As Republicans bash Democrats as being weak in defense of Israel, it pays to point out that this strategy isn’t working.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin still has eyes for Herb Kohl’s senate seat. Hope for this one to pan out, because it’d be like having a second Bernie Sanders in the Senate — only younger.
The crazy people’s candidate of choice; Rick Perry.
Newt’s campaign is pretty much flat busted broke.
Bristol Palin says her mom isn’t dumb. I’ve got to say, her mom hides that fact well.
Finally, Michele Bachmann wants to smite the wicked… Or something.
The Great State of Russconsin
Welcome to Russconsin. When Sen. Russ Feingold lost to Tea Party frootloop Ron Johnson just months ago, it appeared that the Democratic Party’s moment had faded — both in Wisconsin and nationally. Republicans descended on state houses and Washington in a “wave election,” sweeping out Democrats and flipping blue to red. But then something happened. Republicans either forgot or ignored the fact that polling showed they didn’t so much win these contests. Polling showed Democrats had lost. Republicans were swept in as part of a massive protest vote, not as an endorsement of their ideas.
But those Republicans decided, for one reason or another, to behave as if they’d been given a mandate. Perhaps some believed that if people actually saw GOP ideas in action, they’d come to support them — that now was their time to shine. Maybe others thought that the people really did support their policies, but that the polling was somehow missing that fact. Still others had no interest in legislative careers; elected office being a form of activism, they simply wanted the chance to do as much damage as possible to the hated government, mandate or lack thereof be damned.
For whatever reason, Republicans engaged in overreach almost immediately. The populace voted them in on issues of jobs and the economy; instead, the GOP began to strip people of rights, increase unemployment through cuts and layoffs, and to give away anything that wasn’t nailed down to moneyed interests in the forms of tax cuts, subsidies, and privatization. In Wisconsin, as it did nationwide, this got old fast.
In commenting on the special election in New York’s 26th congressional district earlier this week, Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling had this to say; “Congressional Republicans are extremely unpopular and voters think they’re doing an even worse job than the Democrats they put out of office six months ago. That was true in NY-26 and that’s true nationally. Last month we found nationally that 43% of voters thought House Republicans were doing a worse job than the Democrats did while in the majority to only 36% who felt they were an improvement. Even in NY-26, which voted 13 points more Republican than the country as a whole in 2008, 38% of voters think the Republicans are doing a worse job than the Democrats to only 34% who think they’re an improvement. You can talk about Jack Davis all you want but the reality is that if voters thought House Republicans were bringing the improvement they hoped for when they went to vote last November Jane Corwin would have won tonight.”
Republican overreach takes its toll. Which brings us back to Russconsin.
PPP also polled the coming recall of Gov. Scott Walker and found shades of Gray Davis. If a recall election were held today, Walker would lose — decisively. Against his general election opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Wallker would be defeated 50%-43%. Against Russ Feingold, it would be 52%-42%.
50% support a recall, while 47% don’t. But this is a misleading metric, since a much smaller percentage than fifty is needed to trigger a recall. Those numbers guarantee one.
Also up for polling is the seat held by retiring serial-backbencher Sen. Herb Kohl. In that race, Feingold is again the clear frontrunner. Of all the Democrats mentioned as possible candidates Russ does the best, beating GOP frontrunner and former Governor Tommy Thompson by 10 points.
So, seven months after he was voted out of office, former Sen. Russ Feingold can have his pick of elected offices — he’s the state’s political golden boy. Will it be the Governor’s Mansion in Madison, will it be back to work as the junior Senator from Wisconsin, or will it be something else? The world may not be his oyster, but this state certainly is.
Just months into what was supposed to be the Republican Party’s crowning moment, the whole thing is collapsing around their ears.
Welcome to Russconsin.
Stories to Watch: 5/17/11
Finally getting to bed at a (halfway) decent hour. Lately, I find myself getting immersed in something and the next time I look at the clock, it’s stupid-o’clock in the morning. This is not good and it’s actually an effort to change it. Now here’s the news…
Newt Gingrich is not good with money. Politico reports that, at one point, Newt was into Tiffany’s for half a million. Now seems like a good time to remind everyone that, among his many indiscretions as in congress, he also wrote three bad checks as part of the House banking scandal.
On the other hand, Newt may be finished anyway — because Paul Ryan’s unpopular Medicare wrecking ball has inexplicably become a sacred cow to the GOP. Weren’t they all running screaming from it just a couple weeks ago?
Not helping mend Gingrich’s ties with the GOP establishment, Tea Party fave Allen West stops just short of calling him a racist.
Fox News coins the term “Bachmania.” I’m sure that, in terms of cultural impact, it’ll give Beatlemania a run for its money.
Remember, I totally called this: Paul Ryan won’t run for Herb Kohl’s Senate seat.
The “Gang of Six” senators who were supposed to be knocking out a compromise budget agreement loses Tom Coburn. The press still calls them the “Gang of Six,” for some reason.
Remember the last idiot ideologue who came out of the Texas Governor’s Mansion to run for president? That worked out well, didn’t it? Let’s do it again.
Finally, what liberal media? The press has joined the GOP in ignoring the unemployed.
Stories to Watch: 5/15/11
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is accused in the the sexual assault (read “rape”) of a New York hotel maid. While this throws a huge monkeywrench into French politics, it has global implications as well.
Mike Huckabee won’t run in 2012. Frankly, I’m a lot less surprised about that then I’m supposed to be, it seems. The big tip-off for me was that he made the announcement on his Fox show, which might’ve made things troublesome election/media laws-wise if his announcement had been anything other than “no.” Still, I’ll bet his ratings killed. After all, that’s what all the “Huckabee emails suggest a run!" stories were all about.
We hit the debt limit tomorrow. Expect a lot of stupid statements from Republicans, but remember that we’ve got enough to keep the lights on until about August — then catastrophe as the US defaults on loans and bonds. Until the week or two before we run out of money, it’ll all be bluster. It’s a game of chicken and, frankly, Republicans suck at it.
Rep. Paul Ryan, well-known author of fantasy-economics porn, will decide whether he wants to run for retiring Sen. Herb Kohl’s seat this week. I don’t like to make predictions, but I’m guessing no. Ryan is a “rising star” in the House GOP and, if he switches to the Senate, he’ll practically have to start over as a freshmen nobody. Still you never know — in terms of temperament, the calm, non-bomb-tossing Ryan seems more Senate. I’m not pinned down either way, but I think it’s more likely he’ll rule it out.
Newt Gingrich really is a jackass. Now he’s suggesting an illegal “poll test" — i.e., requiring someone to pass some sort of knowledge test before being allowed to vote. These were typically used in the racist south to keep poor blacks from voting. I’m sure the ‘baggers love the idea, but the irony is that this would disenfranchise a lot of teabagging morans — literacy was often a requirement.
Finally, conservative pundit George Will shocks America by actually being right for once.
Stories to Watch: 5/14/11
Well, that was fun. The blogs still aren’t 100%, but I’m going to go ahead and start using them again anyway. Google says they’re restoring lost posts and, at this point, I’m still waiting. If they don’t come back, I’ll just copy and repost from my Tumblr blog — which I’m extremely happy to have right now. I’ll give it until Sunday night. Now here’s the news…
Conservative blogger Ann Althouse assumes the obvious — that the Google Blogger outage was all about her. “You know, I’m beginning to suspect that there’s some behind-the-scenes campaign to report my blog as abusive,” she wrote. “People who hate/fear the Althouse blog could make a loud noise to Google.”
Yeah Ann, you’re freakin’ terrifying.
Normal people check Blogger Status and the Blogger Help Forum when their blog is acting screwy. I did this right away and, while I wasn’t happy with what I learned there, I wasn’t left to make up paranoid scenarios to explain my problems.
Abnormal people assume it’s a liberal plot and take to the blogosphere to express their outrage and engage in paranoid speculation.
Ron Paul, having learned absolutely nothing from the crapstorm his son went through for the same thing, says he wouldn’t have voted for the Civil Rights Act.
Even worse, Paul calls for the abolishment of FEMA, saying the emergency agency only exists to bail out people who “do dumb things" — like live on coasts or areas that may flood. Here’s a fun game for Ron Paul: name the disaster-proof area of the United States. Hell, go ahead and name the disaster-proof area of the world. I’ll be right here when you come up with an answer. Until then, we can only assume that Ron Paul believes that living on Earth is a "dumb thing" to do. There are times when Ron Paul just seems to be a pleasant, but eccentric, old guy. It pays to be reminded that he’s really a jerk.
Obama caves on offshore drilling. Expect gas prices to move down zero points as a result.
London is invaded by parakeets. No, really.
Shirley Sherrod, who you might remember as the victim of a baseless Brietbart smear campaign, is back at the USDA.
Yet another poll shows that Republican voters would rather have someone else than any of the current 2012 presidential candidates.
Finally, could Rep. Tammy Baldwin become the first openly lesbian US Senator? With the retirement of Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, there’s a chance. Depending on who she’s up against and whether the current anti-GOP momentum carries, it could really happen. She’d make a fine choice.
Republicans are drooling over retiring Sen. Herb Kohl’s seat.
On the GOP side, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville tops the list of many Republicans…
Others include former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, who’s been weighing a bid for months…
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is also considering running, according to a campaign aide…
A source close to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he would also explore a run.
Former state Sen. Ted Kanavas tells WisPolitics he is also considering a run.
A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said if Ryan doesn’t run he would “definitely consider it.”
The National Republican Senate Committee said Kohl’s departure “immediately presents another key opportunity for Senate Republicans next year.”
Kohl pretty much owned the seat, so with him gone, the field suddenly gets a lot more inviting. Only perpetual loser Mark Neumann was willing to take on Herb and risk the almost inevitable defeat.
Now that Mr. Unbeatable is out of the picture, they’re crawling out of the woodwork.