Stories to Watch: 8/14/11
Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa Straw Poll, but Tim Pawlenty gets all the headlines today by dropping out of the race. Ron Paul came in second, so expect Paulistas to become especially insufferable. Keep in mind that neither Mitt Romney nor Rick Perry competed in this contest — their vote totals are from write-ins — so it really means a whole lot of nothing.
The White House weighs political realities and concludes that next to nothing can be done about the economy. The thing is, if there’s one person in the position to change political realities, it’s the President of the United States. It’s called “leadership.”
What will be Rick Perry’s biggest liability on the campaign trail? If the press is on the ball, it’ll be the fact that he’s crooked.
Rep. Jim Clyburn sees the deficit reduction “super-committee” as an opportunity to restore the middle class. Needless to say, this is the worst thing ever.
Shittiest headline of the weekend: “CNN/ORC Poll: Dem support for Obama’s re-election fades,” from CNN. The poll results show that 70% of Democrats want Obama to be the party’s nominee. Golly, but he sure is screwed, huh? Taegan Goddard takes the same story and fixes the headline, “Democratic Base Solidly Behind Obama.”
Bachmann can write off the unemployed as potential voters, because they’d have to be fools to vote for her.
Finally, Ron Paul speaks out against abortion — because using the power of government to force women to give birth against their will is a triumph of fucking liberty.
Stories to Watch: 8/12/11
Spaghetti and meatballs on a stick. This is an actual thing. Now here’s the news…
While making a broader point in a NYT piece, Timothy Egan points out that Rick Perry’s record of answered prayers sucks. Perry signed three consecutive days of prayer for rain into law and Texas is still drier than the Sahara. It’s like I always say, the only difference between prayer and doing nothing is intent. Maybe we might want to look into electing someone who’s interested in actually governing, rather than a really lousy sorcerer who’s ongoing plan seems to be to keep asking his cosmic buddy for favors that said cosmic buddy never delivers.
And, in other news from the rightwing and batshit crazy; Sen. Jim DeMint believes that most Americans are anti-American.
A conservative circuit court rules that the individual mandate in heathcare reform is unconstitutional. This ruling may not carry a lot of legal weight done the road, because it hinges in part on an extremely stupid argument; that all new programs are automatically unconstitutional.
Tim Pawlenty agrees to come to your house and cook you dinner or mow your lawn. That’s info I could’ve used about an hour earlier.
NYT reports that more and more “well-known economists, financial analysts and corporate leaders, including some Republicans,” are speaking out against Republican economic policies as anti-growth and a case of bad prioritizing. Let’s hope that more media notice that “Republican economics suck!” is not an opinion, but objective fact.
S&P continues to fault Republicans for the downgrade. The latest; default-denialism — of the Michele Bachmann variety — shows that a significant portion of elected officials (i.e., the GOP) can’t be trusted to manage the nation’s debt.
Another point that’s not opinion, but objective fact: last night’s GOP debate was an embarrassing panderfest.
Finally, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are already battling it out to see who will become the King or Queen of the Crazy People.
Stories to Watch: 7/20/11
Hot. I left some pig iron laying out in the backyard and it melted. True story. Now here’s the news…
Even Eric Cantor’s wealthy donors think the rich should pay more in taxes. Meanwhile, the forecast for a debt limit deal in time getsvery, very cloudy.
After holding out for a “grand bargain,” the White House now says it’s open to a short-term debt deal to avoid default.
Sen. Tom Harkin dares state the obvious; “One of our two parties has morphed into kind of a cult driven by a singular fixation and obsession: preserving tax breaks for the wealthy at all costs.”
Al Franken nails Focus on the Family to the wall during a Senate hearing on the Defense Of Marriage Act. Fact-based governance — what a concept.
Tim Pawlenty makes it pretty obvious he was the one who dropped the Bachmann migraine story.
Rep. Allen West is such an asshole.
If the election were held today and it was between Obama and Romney, it would be tight.
Finally, the AFL-CIO points out that of six Wisconsin primaries against Republican plants running as Democrats and the first general recall election last night, Democrats have not lost a single recall contest so far.
Stories to Watch: 7/19/11
Hot again. Going to grill again. Burgers this time. Damn the torpedoes. Now here’s the news…
Michele Bachmann (barely) leads the GOP pack (another poll has her in second). We’ll see if today’s news has any effect on future polling. Either way, the fact that she was ever in front shows just how far outside the mainstream Republican voters have become.
Hidden inside the Bachmann avalanche; Rick Perry steps away from his crazy sounding “I’ve been called” to run for president statement. Turns out that a Texas governor saying that God wants him to run brings up some unpleasant memories.
The Gang of Six reemerges as a bipartisan force for raising the debt ceiling. Details of their plan — which President Obama endorses — are here.
Rupert take a pie to the face.
More Family Values fun with FAMiLY LEADER; this time, it’s a riotously funny "faggot" joke. These people are so filled with hate it’s probably eaten away their stomach lining.
Bill Clinton’s plan to raise the debt ceiling doesn’t sound a lot like what President Clinton’s plan would’ve been. Still, I like it.
Finally, the bad polling news keep piling up on top of the GOP. This time, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 59% believe that the party represents Wall Street instead of the middle and lower classes. Only 26% are slow learners who believe otherwise.
News Roundup for 7/19/11
Still squirellier than a walnut grove
-Headline of the Day-
"Did team Pawlenty drop the Bachmann is unstable and on meds story?"
By now, you’ve probably figured out that Michele Bachmann is a lunatic. Well, it also turns out that she suffers “stress-triggered migraines" that sound an awful lot like bouts of even deeper goofiness. Like maybe these aren’t migraines at all, but episodes where she’s overcome by her own goofiness.
Needless to say, this may have some effect on the Iowa straw poll next month. Sure, Shelly’s popular with all the other nuts right now, but what happens when she out-crazies them? Maybe not good things.
All of which has people who aren’t fans of Bachmann at all wondering, “What is the deal here?” And the more they look into what is the deal, the more the deal looks like rival crazy Tim Pawlenty. According to Kombiz at AMERICAblog, “The story had two sources who were obviously high level staff members or connected to high level staff members who worked for Michele Bachmann. A third person verified that Michele Bachmann does indeed get migraines. I had a suspicion that the Pawlenty campaign was behind the hit, since they have one of Bachmann’s former Chief of Staff, Ron Carey, supporting the campaign. The campaign has used Carey to attack Bachmann in the past. And the fact that Pawlenty’s path requires that he beat Bachmann in the Ames straw poll next month.”
Worse, “a Republican who is also suspicious that Pawlenty dropped the bogus story emailed me a link to another two high level staffers who would know about Bachmann’s health problems and who are also supporting the Pawlenty campaign.”
So, final score: Shelly’s probably still a nut and Pawlenty’s probably a dick. Once the smoke clears, neither is going to seem like much of a revelation. (AMERICAblog)
-Seems to be working, though-
Pawlenty’s dickery seems to have Team Bachmann pretty rattled. As you can imagine, the press thinks this is the best thing ever and they’ve been trying to get a microphone in Shelly’s face. ABC’s lead investigative reporter Brian Ross attempted to do just that — and nearly got his ass kicked by Bachmann goons.
Ross tried to get a comment in person from Bachmann at a rally. He followed her to a parking ramp, where things got ugly. “When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force,” the report tells us. “In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she ignored him again.”
"We were videotaping Brian asking questions," says ABC News senior VP Jeffrey That’ll probably work out great for the Bachmann ‘12 team.
Asked if he’d ever been handled so roughly while attempting to ask a question, Ross answered, “A few times. Mostly by mafia people.” (Plum Line)
"Allen West: Obama Supporters Are ‘A Threat To The Gene Pool.’"
Yeah, whatever Adolph. Have fun with your Tea Party master race. (ThinkProgress)
Obama Swamping GOP Fundraising
It’s a point I make often — in fact, regular readers may think I try to pound it into the ground — that people generally don’t vote for things, but against things. I suppose the same goes for fundraising. It’s a lot easier to get people to open their wallets to stop something than to start something. This is why negative campaigning works; it’s all about being against something. Candidate X voted for a bill I don’t like and candidate X must be stopped.
There isn’t anything wrong with this in and of itself. Progress is impossible without preventing backsliding. And, although it might appear to the contrary, it seems to make progress possible. Progress is always opposed and whether something moves forward or not seems to depend on the weakness of the opposition (in most cases), rather than the strength of the support.
Anyway, this whole theory of mine goes a long way toward explaining this:
Talking Points Memo:
The latest fundraising numbers from President Obama’s reelection effort are jaw-dropping and represent the kind of haul Republicans have been warning their supporters about for months.
In a video sent to reporters and supporters Wednesday morning, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced $86 million in total fundraising between April and June of this year. Messina said $47 million went to the Obama campaign itself, while $38 million went to the DNC.
The combined goal was $60 million. In the end, Obama’s fundraising forces burst through that goal by more than $20 million, which is more than Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney raised in total.
Politico puts the amount in deeper context, reporting, “The $86 million raised for Obama’s reelection easily doubles — and nearly triples — all the major GOP candidates to announce so far, combined. While there are a few Republicans who haven’t shared their numbers, including Michele Bachmann, the group that includes Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich has taken in just $33.1 million.”
What’s surprising about this is that Obama’s support among Democrats is actually pretty weak. The 2008 enthusiasm for the guy is pretty much gone — whittled away in compromise after compromise — but he’s still able to raise a significant amount of money.
Of course, the incumbent’s advantage applies to fundraising, too. Those who want a friend in the White House are going to play the odds. And, since the odds are that the incumbent wins, that candidate generally gets the bulk of that influence-seeking cash.
But the rest comes from individuals and issue-oriented PACS — things like pro-choice groups, labor groups, environmental organizations, gay rights groups, etc. It’s here that the “voting against things” idea kicks in. Faced with a truly crazy GOP, these organizations have seen their fundraising skyrocket. For example, Planned Parenthood’s fundraising is up, in response to attacks from both national and local Republicans. Likewise, labor groups are seeing an increase. A lot of that money’s going to find its way into the president’s reelection fund.
And who can blame them? Republicans are engaging in an insane overreach nationwide, acting as if they’d been elected unanimously. Unions are under attack, education is under attack, women’s health services are under attack, the environment is under attack, consumer protection is under attack.
Worse, the Republican presidential candidates are currently in a contest to see who can be the most insane. Want to raise a lot of money from pro-choice or gay groups? Send out a flyer showing Michele Bachmann’s latest poll numbers in the GOP primary, along with a list of things she’s said.
I can guarantee, those people will be against that.
Stories to Watch: 6/29/11
Finally got a Griper Blade post up. And the week’s only half done. Now here’s the news…
Here’s a pretty good argument that Michele Bachmann is on the same skyrocket-then-crash trajectory suffered by Donald Trump and Herman Cain.
President Obama tells people attending an LGBT Pride Reception at the White House that certification of the repeal of DADT will be “a matter of weeks, not months.”
According to Greg Sargent, Obama “was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich” with his press conference today. Let’s hope Sargent’s right.
But this is also a sign that the debt-limit talks with the GOP have collapsed for good. “The best advice I’ve gotten for assessing the debt-ceiling negotiations was to ‘watch for the day when the White House goes public,’” writes Ezra Klein. “As long as the Obama administration was refusing to attack Republicans publicly, my source said, they believed they could cut a deal. And that held true… But today they went public. The negotiations have failed.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants you tomake John Boehner cry. Geez guys, people like a little challenge. The guy cries when his corn flakes get soggy. My suggestion for the next fundraiser; “Make John Boehner Shoot Milk Out of His Nose!”
A three-judge panel finds healthcare reform constitutional — a major step in establishing it’s legality. For those keeping track of the decisions so far, it’s not looking good for the antis; MSNBC reports, “This brings to four the number of court decisions upholding the law. Two other courts have declared it unconstitutional on its long march to the Supreme Court.”
Trying to pump up his dismal approval ratings, Florida Gov. Rick Scott resorts to robocalls — because being called by a robot during dinner is just everyone’s favorite thing. Nice to see he’s put as much thought into this as he has into everything else.
Finally, is Tim Pawlenty secretly pro-choice?
Stories to Watch: 6/15/11
Do I live in Seattle or something? Thermometer’s hovering around 60 and the sky is dark and gloomy. Now here’s the news…
The White House argues that the War Powers Act doesn’t apply to Libya. Congress is unconvinced.
In the unsurprising news bin: Newt Gingrich’s support among voterscrashes.
By trying to take down Mitt Romney, GOP purists are probably sinking their very best chance at the White House.
From time to time, it pays to remind people that Michele Bachmann is dangerously insane.
Worried that your kid isn’t dangerously insane enough? Send them to Tea Party indoctrination camp, where they’ll learn that all the historical horseshit that Bachmann and Sarah Palin make up is true, true, true.
Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan looks a lot like Bush’s economic plan — magnified to the power of a gajillion.
Finally, let’s all laugh at the idea that people should be worried about right wing extremists resorting to terrorism.
Stories to Watch: 6/14/11
Tonight, I dine on bratwurst! Huzzah! Now here’s the news…
There’s a surprising amount of consensus regarding last night’s GOP debate, but the most widely agreed upon opinion seems to be thatTim Pawlenty choked.
John Boehner discovers a dusty old bit of trivia called the “War Powers Act.” You’ve got to wonder where it was hiding when Bush was going all Yosemite Sam.
Meanwhile, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sics the law on Boehner, filing papersfor violating the law in his attempt to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
David Brooks was dumb again.
Shelly Bachmann is all in for this presidential thing; she won’t run for reelection to congress. Let the rejoicing begin. Then again, I wouldn’t expect great things from the district that keeps voting for her. We’re probably just changing tires on the goofball-mobile here.
Brian Beutler fact-checks the fact-checkers on Medicare and finds them off-base.
Finally, here’s your non-surprise of the day: CEOs are four times more likely to be psychopaths than the general population.
Polling Suggests Tea Party is Loud, But Not Numerous
The 2012 presidential campaign begins today, about as officially as it ever will. A presidential debate in New Hampshire tonight features Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Tim Pawlenty. This is by no means the full field. Missing will be John Huntsman — absent by choice — and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a Ron Paul clone that event organizers decided “was not viable as a candidate.” At this point, neither are Gingrich or Paul, but I guess name recognition earns you some slack.
Going into this, Romney is definitely the candidate to beat. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll puts Romney at the head of the pack by a fairly respectable margin, beating his closest competitor — the as yet unannounced Sarah Palin — 24% to 20%. After that, it’s Giuliani with 12% and it just gets sad after that.
Gallup likewise has a poll out and the news for the non-Romneys there is worse. While Mitt’s percentage is identical to CNN’s findings — 24% — everyone else is worse off. Palin only scores 16%.
And the news gets yet worse. Gallup also polled respondents by taking Palin out of the equation. If Sarah Palin decides against running (an extremely likely scenario, in my opinion), the big gainer is Romney. He rises to 27%, easily beating the next in line — Herman Cain at 10%.
If the Tea Party is the voice of the Republican Party, these results show that it may be a matter of decibels, not numbers. They dominate the conversation by being the loudest and most attention-seeking. But they hate Romney and Romney leads.
I say “may be,” because the numbers don’t add up decisively for Mittens. If we take all the ‘bagger-affiliated candidates from Gallup’s numbers (I’m using the rest of the field, minus Huntsman, Johnson, Gingrich, and Santorum — a little arbitrary, I’ll admit), then the ‘baggers win — about 32% to Romney’s 27% without Palin. With Palin in the numbers get worse for Romney. Whether or not the fractious Tea Partiers will be able to settle on a single candidate is another story, but right now, Mittens seems to be the establishment candidate and the voice of those who choose not to march around dressed like George Washington carrying poorly spelled signs.
Yet Romney is such a poor candidate. He suffers from a well-deserved reputation as a flip-flopper. Not only in terms of healthcare reform, but also on the issues of gay rights and abortion. He governed from the center as Governor of New Hampshire and has since run as far to the right as he could without actually joining a militia group. He is profoundly unserious and impossible to take seriously.
What all this tells me is that there’s a large segment of the party that really, really, really doesn’t like all the teabagger madness. Palin, Bachmann, Cain, et. al. are all clowns and these people see that. Better to have Flip-Flop Mitt as the nominee than one of these frothing lunatics with half a brain. After all, there’s actually some danger that the nominee could win. If the idea of Michele Bachmann with the launch codes makes you nervous, there are apparently people within the Republican Party who share your concerns.