Another day, another Republican victim card.
Republican aides are calling out the White House for scheduling President Barack Obama’s remarks on avoiding the sequester at the same time House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is delivering a major address Tuesday afternoon.
Cantor’s address to the American Enterprise Institute at 1 p.m. has been on the books for weeks, and is billed by his aides as an agenda-setting speech — and one, that according to excerpts, will continue the party’s shift away from a singular focus on fiscal issues.
“Why are they so worried about Americans hearing positive ideas on how to help working families,” asked a Cantor aide. “We’re flattered they’re putting so much emphasis on Leader Cantor’s remarks.”
The problem for Republicans here is that Cantor’s speech is not of Earth-shattering importance by any means. According to Politico:
Cantor plans to introduce his vision of America in a Tuesday speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. It includes granting more visas for highly educated workers, eliminating medical-device taxes and simplifying tax filings. His aides concede that all he’s doing is “taking policies that have been on the shelf for a while, or back burner, and elevating them.” He’s not completely abandoning Republicans’ core focus on slashing spending, just pairing it with other more palatable talk.
So it’s basically all the same old crap, arranged in a different order. Cantor’s trying to sell the same stuff no one likes by putting it into a brand new box. As Steve Benen says, “After digesting their 2012 setbacks, Republicans are absolutely convinced that the only thing standing between the party and electoral success is better rhetoric — the public would love the far-right agenda, if only GOP officials presented it in a more compelling fashion.”
Politico calls Cantor’s speech “Cantor 4.0.” “This isn’t Cantor’s first crack at repackaging Republicanism,” we’re reminded. “Or second. Or third.” It’s the fourth time Eric Cantor’s tried the same old “let’s pretend we’re different now” strategy. It’s a tiresome exercise in futility — does he really believe it’s going to work any better the fourth time than it did the first?
This may very well be one of the least consequential speeches of Eric Cantor’s career. No one’s going to lose any sleep over not watching it live. Republicans can stop whining now.
‘As sex-discriminatory as legislation can get’: how social conservatives see the VAWA.
Both sides do it.
This platitude is one of the most destructive myths in politics. But when it comes to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was drafted in 1994 by then-senator Joe Biden and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the “both sides do it” canard becomes especially disgusting — and not just because the House GOP alone is responsible for letting the law lapse for the first time in over a decade and a half.
Writing in Townhall, longtime anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly says that VAWA is “as sex-discriminatory as legislation can get.” Why? Because it isn’t designed to protect men. Schlafly argues that domestic violence is a problem that affects men and women equally: “A Centers for Disease Control survey found that half of all partner violence was mutual, and 282 scholarly studies reported that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are more three times more likely to be killed, stalked or raped by an intimate partner than men. Arguing that women often start domestic violence doesn’t just ignore the obvious inherent physical difference between men and women, it echoes an excuse often used by abusers themselves.
“Half of all partner violence was mutual” isn’t extremely surprising. If someone’s beating on me, I’m going to hit back. But in Schlafy’s world, this means that the woman was either beating up on the man or asking for what she got. I’d think I wouldn’t have to point out that this is a sick worldview, but apparently I do. Schlafly’s always been bizarrely anti-woman, but this is just above and beyond.
And it was Eric Cantor who blocked the VAWA in the House, because of “provisions to extend protections to Native American women and undocumented women, as well as lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.” I guess some women are deserving of being slapped around more than other whiter and straighter women. After all, it’s the Violence Against Women Act, not the Violence Against All Women Act. Gotta watch out for that government overreach, you know.
After losing the female vote by a landslide in 2012, Republicans continue to wage their War on Women. If Republicans think women aren’t watching and keeping score here, they’re completely unable to learn from the past.
The House GOP bribery PAC.
The YG Network, a secret-money outside political group run by former aides to House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), launched a new radio ad campaign today designed to reward Republican Members of Congress who back Cantor and the party’s leadership on key votes. Politico explains:
The YG Network is seeking to “leverage the floor schedule and votes scheduled by Cantor to help members at home,” an aide said. If a member — specifically, an ally of Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — votes for a leadership priority, they can look forward to an ad in their district.
The YG Network hopes the effort becomes “another tool in the belt to call attention to members and help encourage cohesion on difficult-to-whip votes,” the aide said. Leadership is not permitted to offer anything in exchange for a vote.
…Essentially, YG Network is saying that it will reward members who vote as they wish with “independent” expenditures on their behalf. Because the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group is technically independent of Cantor, it can provide a significant carrot that the Republican Leader cannot offer himself.
So basically, it works a lot like money laundering: Cantor can’t offer anything in exchange for a vote — but a “private” entity can — so YG gives money to other legislators on Cantor’s behalf. The money that Cantor would hand out for ads is instead routed through YG and presto-chango the illegal becomes legal.
“When you allow unlimited special interest money in politics, this type of behavior should be expected,” says the Campaign Legal Center’s Paul Ryan. “Criticism is fair, but never the less, its predictable. This is the world that this Supreme Court majority has given us with the Citizens United decision. It’s troubling, but entirely predictable.”
Cantor and press secretary struggle with reality’s liberal bias.
Stahl: Given his upbringing and his marriage, Cantor says he’s nothing like the intractable obstructionist the Democrats say he is.
Cantor: Nobody gets everything they want. And so—
Stahl: That’s just exactly your image: that you want only what you want.
Cantor: But it’s just I hope I’m not coming across like that now, because it’s just not who I am. I mean, it really is—
Stahl: So are you ready to compromise?
Cantor: So I have always been ready to cooperate. I mean, if you go back to the first—
Stahl: What’s the difference between compromise and cooperate?
Cantor: Well, I would say cooperate is let’s look to where we can move things forward where we agree. Comprising principles, you don’t want to ask anybody to do that. That’s who they are as their core being.
Stahl: But you know, your idol, as I’ve read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.
Cantor: He never compromised his principles.
Stahl: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.
Cantor: Well, he— he also cut taxes.
Stahl: But he did compromise—
Cantor: Well I —
[Press Secretary: That just isn’t true. And I don’t want to let that stand.]
Stahl: And at that point, Cantor’s press secretary interrupted, yelling from off camera that what I was saying wasn’t true.
[Reagan: My fellow Americans…]
Stahl: There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.
[Reagan: Make no mistake about it, this whole package is a compromise.]
Cantor: We as Republicans are not going to support tax increases.
Stahl: So, we’ve seen the two sides of Eric Cantor: the push and pull between his hard fighting style on legislation that appeals to his party’s conservative wing and his warm, Southern gentleman demeanor.
I think what’s happening here is that these guys have a habit of confusing the real Ronald Reagan and the Colonel-Sanders-like Reagan-as-mascot cartoon they’ve made out of him. See, when most people take about Reagan, they’re talking about the real one. But when Republicans talk about Reagan, they’re talking about the Kentucky Fried version.
And that’s why reality has a liberal bias; Republicans refuse to set foot in it, so liberals have it all to themselves.
Stories to Watch: 10/22/11
I’m going to take another whack at sourdough bread. This time, I’ll knead it after it comes out of the bread machine and divide it into two loaves so it’s not in the oven for as long (the crusts have been a little too crusty, even for sourdough). We’ll see how that works out. Now here’s the news…
The UPenn campus paper publishes Eric Cantor’s speech on income inequality. You know, the one he cancelled after it became clear the audience wouldn’t be sycophantic? Here’s a fun game: use your browser to search for the words “income” and “inequality” in the text. It’s very instructive.
Steve Benen reviews Cantor’s undelivered speech; “After having read it, it seems Cantor probably made a wise choice canceling at the last minute.” The speech in a nutshell; “Trickle down economics will work this time. I swear!” Anyone who’d give this steaming pile of a speech deserves to be heckled.
Unfortunately for Eric, he doesn’t actually have to be there to be protested.
The new conservative spin; President Obama won the war in Iraq wrong.
Proof that global warming denial is an article of faith, not a scientific position; after a Koch-funded study led by a climate skeptic confirms anthropogenic global warming, the deniers are still denying.
Electric car companies are using federal money to create jobs in America. Needless to say, it’s the worst thing ever.
Finally, Karl Rove’s super-secret American Crossroads PAC warns the GOP that Obama’s “tax the rich” rhetoric is working; “our poll found that 64% favor raising taxes on people with incomes above $200,000.”