Archive for the ‘gop’ tag
It’s not a good sign for the future of your party when the GOP’s “Hispanic outreach director” has had enough of his own party’s dim view of immigrants and immigration. A little more than a year ago, Pablo Pantoja was tabbed as the guy to reach out to Hispanic voters on behalf of the Republican Party.
Pantoja is not just calling it quits on the job, but on the party. He announced this week that he was switching parties, writing in an email:
Yes, I have changed my political affiliation to the Democratic Party.
It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others.
Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them.
Studies geared towards making – human beings – viewed as less because of their immigrant status to outright unacceptable claims, are at the center of the immigration debate. Without going too deep on everything surrounding immigration today, the more resounding example this past week was reported by several media outlets.
A researcher included as part of a past dissertation his theory that “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ.” The researcher reinforces these views by saying “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.” (Here is some more information on what Pantoja was referencing).
Although the organization distanced themselves from those assertions, other immigration-related research is still padded with the same racist and eugenics-based innuendo. Some Republican leaders have blandly (if at all) denied and distanced themselves from this but it doesn’t take away from the culture within the ranks of intolerance. The pseudo-apologies appear to be a quick fix to deep-rooted issues in the Republican Party in hopes that it will soon pass and be forgotten.
The complete disregard of those who are in disadvantage is also palpable. …
Of course, this switch should not surprise anyone within the GOP; if it does they are even more out of touch than I thought. The party has been anti-immigrant and in some ways, anti-color, for so long now that attempts by Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, John McCain and others to send the message that the GOP is now more Hispanic friendly probably falls on deaf ears at this point. Much too little and much too late.
If any of us thought there was any chance for the GOP to grow up and move past partisanship in order to get something done in Washington during Obama’s remaining years in office, we might as well dream on. This do-nothing bunch of Republican lawmakers seem dead set on not only inaction, but attempting work against the administration, no matter how detrimental this might be to the nation itself or people’s faith in the political process.
Here’s part of an article from Slate:
In the past couple weeks, in interviews with House and Senate staffers for the Republican leadership, there has been a depressing message: Nothing is going to get done for the next four years. Again and again, the same mantra could be heard. Partisanship and election jockeying for 2014 and 2016 is going to keep everything locked up.
Watching the live feed from the White House on Friday it became hard to argue otherwise. President Obama held an event with mothers defending the Affordable Care Act, the start of a monthslong effort to protect his signature achievement, which Republicans have promised to fight all the way to the 2014 elections and beyond. Then, shortly thereafter, White House press secretary Jay Carney jumped between answering questions about the administration’s response to the attacks in Benghazi to the Internal Revenue Service targeting the Tea Party and other conservative political groups for audits.
It’s going to take some time to get to the bottom of these controversies, but we can conclude the pessimists are probably right. Nothing is going to get done in this siege environment.
This New York Times editorial also highlighted this pervasive tone within the GOP camp in Washington. The paper even goes so far as to recommend that Obama outright abandon any attempts to extend an olive branch to the Republicans:
It is time for President Obama to abandon his hopes of reaching a grand budget bargain with Republicans.
At every opportunity since they took over the House in 2011, Republicans have made it clear that they have no interest in reaching a compromise with the White House. For two years, they held sham negotiations with Democrats that only dragged down the economy with cuts; this year, they are refusing even to sit down at the table.
I can’t say that I disagree, but we should also remember that on at least one piece of important legislation, the Affordable Care Act, Obama and the Washington Democrats moved forward and did the right thing without GOP support. The Republicans have not been interested in actual leadership the past four years, only interested thwarting Obama’s policies, and they even seem willing to let the nation default on its debt to make a point. This is not nasty, cut throat maneuvering; it’s childish school yard politics.
Here is how The Times concluded its editorial:
Republican lawmakers have become reflexive in rejecting every extended hand from the administration, even if the ideas were ones that they themselves once welcomed. Under the circumstances, Mr. Obama would be best advised to stop making peace offerings. Only when the Republican Party feels public pressure to become a serious partner can the real work of governing begin.
President Barack Obama said the following back in 2009:
Although he now has nothing to lose being a lame duck president, hopefully he still means these words.
even FOX News won’t pony up the money to retain you:
(Sarah) Palin was a hot property when Roger Ailes landed her in 2009, fresh off her colorful run for vice president, and paid her an annual salary of $1 million. Fox even built Palin a studio at her Wasilla home.
But relations cooled between the two sides, and Palin was appearing on Fox less often—complaining on Facebook one night during the Republican convention that the network had canceled her appearances.
The new contract offered by Fox, say people familiar with the situation, would have provided only a fraction of the million-dollar-a-year salary. It was then, they say, that Palin turned it down and both sides agreed to call it quits.
A friendly announcement was planned for Friday, but a source close to Palin leaked the news in the afternoon to Real Clear Politics, saying the former Alaska governor “decided not to renew the arrangement” and “remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism.”
Mitt Romney seems to be resolute in his delusion about the election and why he really lost.
This week during a conference call with some big-money supporters, he threw plenty of blame around, most of it involving charges that Barack Obama offered various “gifts” for certain segments of voters, like women, blacks and Hispanics.
According to this New York Times article:
“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”
This statement is contemptible for numerous reasons.
First, rather than Obama’s policies being viewed through a lens of necessity and obligation to move civil rights ever forward in order to actually help people — rather than, you know, merely giving lip service to the idea that you care about average Americans — Romney casts Obama as some kind of political profiteer, and indeed the whole election as just one big sales pitch. This approach not only dehumanizes politics; it dehumanizes and trivializes the candidates as well as the voters.
Romney’s statement above also happens to be a wild misrepresentation of what really happened. Obama didn’t just focus on civil rights and immigration during the debates and speeches leading up to the election, and Romney didn’t have anything new to offer on jobs, foreign policy or military strategy. Regarding employment, he said that he would create 12 million jobs in four years, true. But Moody’s Analytics has estimated that 12 million jobs will be created through 2016 regardless of who is president. Job creation estimates are based on policies that have already been implemented. This was Romney’s only substantive claim about job growth.
Further, during the final debate, other than the obligatory Republican call to expand the military, we couldn’t really tell how Romney was any different than Obama on foreign policy and the military. According to this Reuters article:
Monday night’s foreign policy debate between the Republican presidential nominee and the Democratic president was striking for the frequency with which Romney aligned himself with Obama’s strategies rather than distancing himself from them.
So, what was this “strategy” Romney was talking about that was focused on the big issues? On most of the big issues other than health care, he more closely aligned or even agreed with Obama’s policies.
I don’t make a practice of watching a lot of MSNBC because I think that would make me no better than FOX News viewers who tune in every day to have their own views confirmed, but Al Sharpton (He should not be a TV host for many reasons) did have an interesting segment tonight in which he featured a previously unreleased audio recording of Lee Atwater outlining what he thought should be the more modern GOP strategy for taking advantage of white bigotry in the early 1980s. Here is one of the more offensive parts:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Romney, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Ryan and others within the GOP have essentially used this strategy to cater to the uneducated, white vote in the South and other rural parts of the nation. While they can’t say anything approaching the offensiveness of “nigger” anymore, they can play on the same white fears that they have for the better part of a century. It’s a hideous but effective strategy.
I believe you grow the economy from the middle out. — Barack Obama, 2012 election ad
Michael Tomasky with The Daily Beast argues that supply-side economics, as well as its ugly stepsister, Reaganomics, died on Election Day when Americans largely rejected the general economic platform of Mitt Romney in favor of a “middle-out” philosophy trumpeted by Barack Obama.
Tomasky makes a good case, but I would suggest that Americans began pulling the curtain on Reaganomics earlier in 2008. There was no secret at the time that the McCain/Palin ticket supported a policy of tax cuts for the rich and deregulation, while Obama wanted to go in a different direction. Even during the Clinton years, I don’t think Americans were completely convinced that Reaganomics was indeed suffering slow entropy. While the Gore/Bush race in 2000 was close — remember that Gore actually won the popular vote — a general ideological shift had yet to occur, as Bush was still commanding a lead in key states like Virginia, Ohio and Illinois. Judging by the votes Bush got in those states between 2000 and 2008, plenty of people still bought into the old guard strain of economic thought.
Here are the last four Electoral College maps from 2000-2012
By 2008, the shift had seemingly already begun, and the Democratic Party’s renewed influence in pockets of the nation that previously went for Bush two elections prior was built on three foundations: disdain and weariness about the Bush years, enthusiasm surrounding Obama himself and, most importantly, a collective realization that America’s focus should no longer be on propping up the wealthy, but bolstering the middle class, indeed, that economic growth flourished alongside middle class success. While the shift may have come full circle this election year, a case can be made that it definitely found its impetus in the 2008 election.
I call this growing up. Understanding that many pockets of America are still clinging to the former ideology, the majority of the nation has come of age and, at least in some measure, has recognized that Reaganomics was not tenable in the 1980s — Tomasky calls it “at best half a success” — and it’s certainly not tenable now.
Tomasky sums it up this way:
Supply side was rejected. And in its place, voters went for an economic vision that says: don’t invest in the wealthy in the hope that they’ll decide to spread the wealth around; invest in the middle class, because it’s demand from a prosperous middle class that ultimately creates more jobs, and because doing that makes for a healthier society all the way around.
Bill Maher and Chris Matthews make a related point in this video, that the election was not necessarily about Obama for a lot of people but about continuing on the path that we have been on that will put the middle class and civil rights in the forefront (See 3:45-5:00):
“When radicals scream that victory is indubitably theirs, sensible conservatives knock them on the nose. It is only very feeble conservatives who take such words as true and run round crying for the last sacraments.” — British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, as quoted by David Frum
I found myself agreeing with much of what David Frum has to say in this column about the future of the Republican Party. It is true; the modern Republican Party is filled with “feeble conservatives” who are masters at bitching, playing the blame game and identifying all that’s wrong with America while providing few substantive solutions. While I don’t necessarily have a dog in the hunt, I would prefer as a voting American that the GOP step away from the fringe cliff because as they drag their party further to the right, they legitimize all the nutcases who want to raze entire departments within the federal government and would go so far as to actually sign petitions in support of state secession.
For those folks, and for everyone else within the Republican Party, Frum has some reasonable advice, and it starts with calling out people who purposefully misconstrue the facts and those, like Bill O’Reilly, who clearly have a dim view of millions of their fellow Americans. Here is Frum’s response to the nonsense in the above video:
You’ll hear O’Reilly’s view echoed wherever conservatives express themselves.
Happily, the view is wrong, and in every respect.
America is not a society divided between “makers” and “takers.” Instead, almost all of us proceed through a life cycle where we sometimes make and sometimes take as we pass from schooling to employment to retirement.
The line between “making” and “taking” is not a racial line. The biggest government program we have, Medicare, benefits a population that is 85% white.
President Barack Obama was not re-elected by people who want to “take.” The president was re-elected by people who want to work -- and who were convinced, rightly or wrongly, that the president’s policies were more likely to create work than were the policies advocated by my party.
The United States did not vote for socialism. It could not do so, because neither party offers socialism. Both parties champion a free enterprise economy cushioned by a certain amount of social insurance. The Democrats (mostly) want more social insurance, the Republicans want less. National politics is a contest to move the line of scrimmage, in a game where there’s no such thing as a forward pass, only a straight charge ahead at the defensive line. To gain three yards is a big play.
Whatever you think of the Obama record, it’s worth keeping in mind that by any measure, free enterprise has been winning the game for a long, long time to this point.
Frum rightly says that the next step for the GOP was to “reassemble a new coalition for limited government and private enterprise,” one that will not just consist of a “white establishment” but one that must necessarily include multiple ethnicities. Criticizing O’Reilly again, Frum then added:
To assume from the start that only certain ethnicities will contribute, and that others aspire only to grab, is not only ugly prejudice; it is also self-destructive delusion.
He ends by saying that the GOP needs “more sensible conservatives” who are able to contribute something meaningful to the political discourse:
As for the feeble conservatives, they should take a couple of aspirin and then stay quietly indoors until the temper has subsided and they are ready to say and do something useful again.
I generally thought that the actual Republican numbers people, and certainly the numbers people in the GOP campaign, were sharper than this. If I were Mitt Romney I would much rather spend the days leading up to the election preparing myself for a punch, then to have myself “sucker-punched” by reality. In other words, it wouldn’t be in my interest to have people around me believe the hype. On the contrary, I’d be really angry if I found out they had. Even buying the argument that the people behind the polling are somehow biased, how do you reconcile that with the fact that polls actually predicted Bush’s win in 2004?
On some level it’s hard to not conclude that the Romney campaign, and Republicans on a whole, were not simply ill-served by their media, and their experts, but they themselves were actually requesting ill service.
This sounds a lot like religion to me. In the absence of any tangible reason to believe in the validity or authenticity of the Bible itself, believers tend to pay attention to arguments that confirm what they want to believe. And so it was with Romney. All the polls and expert opinions to the contrary, Romney and his team still managed to trick themselves into thinking that their version of reality — that every poll in the nation was biased — was the right one and that they actually had a chance. A classic case of delusion.
It must be a wonderful existence spending your entire conscious life in a fantasy world.
In my opinion, here is one of the best editorials about the election, or possibly on any topic, that The New York Times has produced in quite awhile: Mr. Romney Reinvents History.
I found it a solid read because it juxtaposed two important ideas: that Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention was his most important to date and that said speech was most noteworthy for its utter failure, both in presenting a truthful account of the GOP’s general direction these last four years and in mapping out a pathway going forward if Romney wins the election.
As the editorial pointed out and against what Romney claimed, the GOP didn’t rally behind Obama after the 2008 election; Republicans played a four-year long game of cockblock, proving that they are more concerned with Obama failing than America succeeding.
Senate Republicans blocked Obama’s jobs bill. Not one single Republican voted in favor of providing 30 million Americans with health care and have offered no plan of their own. They tried to shut down Obama’s stimulus plan that has helped erect millions of dollars worth of infrastructure across the nation, with only three Republicans voting in favor, one of whom (Arlen Specter) later changed party affiliations. Drive anywhere in Boston, for instance, and signs are up everywhere showing how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has provided support for various roadway projects.
So, that’s one myth. Another was that Romney has any plan whatsoever that may be different than Obama’s, other than proposals that may lead us into messy ordeals in places like Iran and Russia. According to The Times:
… no subjects have received less attention, or been treated with less honesty, than foreign affairs and national security — and Mr. Romney’s banal speech was no exception.
It’s easy to understand why the Republicans have steered clear of these areas. While President Obama is vulnerable on some domestic issues, the Republicans have no purchase on foreign and security policy. In a television interview on Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, could not name an area in which Mr. Obama had failed on foreign policy.
For decades, the Republicans were able to present themselves as the tougher party on foreign and military policy. Mr. Obama has robbed them of that by being aggressive on counterterrorism and by flexing military and diplomatic muscle repeatedly and effectively.
Yet another is that Obama is soft on his support for Israel. The editorial concludes:
The one alliance on which there is real debate between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama is with Israel. But it is not, as Mr. Romney and his supporters want Americans to believe, about whether Mr. Obama is a supporter of Israel. Every modern president has been, including Mr. Obama. Apart from outsourcing his policy to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on settlements, it’s not clear what Mr. Romney would do differently.
But after watching the Republicans for three days in Florida, that comes as no surprise.
In fact, it’s not clear what Romney would do differently on anything involving domestic policy. A recent report from The Washington Post highlights some of the “facts” that Romney present during the convention speech, including one of the more ludicrous ones about creating 12 million jobs.
News flash, Einstein: the economy will add about 9.6 million jobs between 2013-17, according to the Congressional Budget Office, regardless of who is president. Moody’s Analytics estimates 12 million by 2016.
So, yeah, Ann Romney’s family posthumously baptized her atheist father, Edward Roderick Davies, into the church with the understanding that his “soul” had the option of accepting or rejecting the “offer” of salvation. If there were any doubts left about how odious Mormonism is, I think they can resoundingly be silenced:
Edward Roderick Davies was Ann Romney’s father and died in 1992 after living as a staunch atheist all his life.
Recently-discovered records show that, in keeping with their controversial tradition of posthumously baptising non-Mormons, a ceremony was held to invite Mr Davies into the Church of Latter Day Saints one year after he died.
The practice of performing baptisms for the dead has drawn criticism after the Mormon church began doing so for well-known Catholics- including former popes- and Jews- including Holocaust survivors.
According to the religion’s official website, the baptisms are seen as a way to offer those souls an option of joining the Church even once they have died. A key point is that it is seen as an option- as the souls are believed to have the ability to either accept or reject the baptism.
All this just in case Davies “soul” had a change of heart.
While alive, Davies viewed religion as “drudgery” and “hogwash.” So drudging, in fact, is religion that his legacy can’t escape it even in death. Religion poisons everything.