Browsing the archives for the Republican Party category.

Reverse Wedging

Republican Party, The Smarter Brother

When the nuclear deal with Iran was first announced, a number of right-wing media sources gleefully speculated that it would hurt Hillary Clinton — for example —

Republicans want to yoke Mrs. Clinton to the Iran deal, betting that voters—particularly those in the normally Democratic Jewish community—will see the accord as a capitulation that in the end will lead to Iran getting nuclear weapons. Exit polls show that Mr. Obama won 69% of the Jewish vote in 2012, which was 10 percentage points less than Al Gore’s share in 2000, according to the Pew Research Center.

WSJ has been seeing “cracks” in the Jewish-Democratic alliance for months. Whether there are any cracks other than in WSJ’s head I cannot say. But even before the agreement was announced, polls showed that American Jews were more likely than other Americans to want an agreement with Iran. I suspect American Jews on the whole are better informed about Iran than other Americans and have a few clues about what’s at stake.

I haven’t seen any post-agreement polls that call out Jewish opinion specifically. Jewish-American organizations are lining up on both sides of the issue, along expected lines, but whether that will change the minds of Jewish-American voters remains to be seen.

An ABC News / Washington Post poll taken last week shows the American public supporting the agreement, 56 percent to 37 percent. A large part of the people supporting the agreement are skeptical it will work, but want to give it a try, anyway. For the record, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have all expressed support for the deal.

However, I wrote a few days ago, Republican politicians are stumbling all over themselves competing for Biggest Trash Talker of the Iran Deal. This week’s award for Most Reckless Trash Talker possibly goes to Scott Walker, who not only has promised to end the deal on his first day in office, but said that he may have to take military action on his first day in office. Greg Sargent writes,

A dispute has erupted between Scott Walker and Jeb Bush over how to handle the task of undoing Obama’s Iran deal as president, with Bush hinting that Walker is approaching the issue with a lack of maturity, and Walker suggesting that Bush is not zealous enough about confronting the enemy.

Walker is also saying that it’s “very possible” the next president will have to take military action on Day One of his presidency — though it’s unclear whether he means against Iran in particular, or more generally.

The argument says a lot about the two candidates’ differing calculations with regard to the level of nuance GOP primary voters are prepared to entertain about the Iran deal, and more broadly, about foreign policy in general.

Foreign policy experts (the non-Zionist ones anyway) are fairly unanimous that the deal could prevent war and a nuclear-armed Iran, whereas no deal would likely either lead to war or a nuclear-armed Iran. And I really don’t think the American people on the whole are in the mood for starting more wars or electing some guy who thinks he may have to declare war as soon as he takes his hand off the Bible on inauguration day.

Barring unforeseeable developments, I don’t see the deal hurting Dems, including HRC. It could easily hurt Republicans, though.


The GOP Needs a Better Base

Bad Hair, Republican Party, The Smarter Brother

Do y’all remember William Bennett, the guy who made a good living as a public morality scold until it was discovered he had millions of dollars in gambling debts? He hasn’t entirely gone away, but he gets less attention than he used to.

You might remember that Bennett was so disappointed that the American people weren’t more outraged by the Clinton-Lewinsky that he wrote a whole book about it, The Death of Outrage. He saw President Clinton’s popularity as a sign that the American public was morally depraved. (Big Bill averaged a 61 percent approval in his second term, and his high point in December 1998 was 73 percent, according to Gallop.)

I thought of Bennett this morning when I saw this piece at National Review, whining about the Republican base. Kevin Williamson calls that part of the base that is putting Donald Trump at the top of the GOP polls the WHINOS, because they whine about the Republican establishment.

What’s generally misunderstood on the left is that the tea-party movement did not arise as an alternative to the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Democrats but as an alternative to the Bush-McConnell-Hastert Republicans, who were judged to have spent too much, warred too recklessly, and — most significant — to have been too ready to make themselves complicit in the bailouts. …

…You know the RINO — Republican In Name Only — but you may be less familiar with the WHINO. The WHINO is a captive of the populist Right’s master narrative, which is the tragic tale of the holy, holy base, the victory of which would be entirely assured if not for the machinations of the perfidious Establishment. Never mind the Democrats, economic realities, Putin, ISIS, the geographical facts of the U.S.-Mexico border — all would be well and all manner of things would be well if not for the behind-the-scenes plotting of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their enablers, who apparently can be bribed with small numbers of cocktail weenies. The WHINO is a Republican conspiracy theorist, in whose fervid imaginings all the players — victims, villains — are Republicans. Barack Obama? Pshaw. The real enemy is Jeb Bush….

…Which is to say, the WHINO loves Trump not because Trump confounds the Democrats or because he constitutes a serious threat to a Democratic victory in 2016, but because he confounds the Republicans and constitutes a serious threat to a Republican victory in 2016.

Williamson manages to write this whole column without dealing honestly with the one issue that is earning Trump so much WHINO love, which is immigration. I well remember even during Dubya’s first term, when he was still coasting on the false impression that he actually knew what he was doing about terrorism, there was grumbling on rightie blogs that he was soft on immigration. The fact is, the Republican base is cemented together with a whole lot of nativism, along with racism and resentment of anyone comfortable with diversity. It was the Right, not liberals, who lashed out and killed Dubya’s immigration reform efforts.

The GOP establishment thought the baggers were grand when they could be mobilized to shut down town hall meetings about Obamacare. Then they ran Jeb up the flagpole, and the baggers failed to salute. Instead, they are flocking to Trump, who is speaking their language and throwing them red meat in quantity. Because, ultimately, that’s all baggers want. They aren’t interested in actual government policy. They want leaders and spokespeople who will validate their bigotries and give voice to the howling, ugly hate and demented envy that gnaws at their souls.

And now, having chased anyone who actually cared about governing, or even America, out of the party, the GOP is faced with a base that no longer understands, or cares, how the game is played. And the GOP establishment is beginning to realize they no longer control the Frankenstein’s monster they cultivated all these years.


The Smarter Brother Reveals Serious Family IQ Deficit

The Smarter Brother

Anyone who harbored the thought that Jeb might be a better man than Dubya by now should have evicted that thought and changed the locks. Raw Story:

In an interview with the Union Leader, aspiring 2016 Republican presidential nominee Jeb Bush took a slap at the foreign policies of President Barack Obama, stating that the leader of the  free world uses too many big words and wastes his time at conferences with world leaders instead of forging ahead.

In video captured by C-SPAN, Bush criticized the White House’s nuclear negotiations with Iran calling it, “the Clinton-Kerry-Obama foreign policy playing out.”

Bush then advocated for more blunt and simple type of statesmanship — reminiscent of the style of his brother, former President George W. Bush as well as Vice President Dick Cheney — in dealing with world.

“You don’t have to be the world’s policemen, but you have to be the world’s leader and there’s a huge difference,” Bush explained. “This guy — this president and Secretary Clinton and Secretary Kerry – when someone disagrees with their nuanced approach where it’s all kind of so sophisticated it makes no sense. You know what I’m saying?”

Bush continued, “Big syllable words and lots of fancy conferences and meetings and – We’re not leading. That creates chaos. It creates a more dangerous world. So restoring the alliances that have kept the world safer and our country safer – getting back to a position in the Middle East where there’s no light between Israel and the United States.”

One wonders whom the Bushies hire to help Jeb use a fork and tie his shoes.


NY Times Catches On to Rightie Book Scam (Updated)

The darkest 24 hours, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Righties are apoplectic because the New York Times is not putting Ted Cruz’s book A Time for Truth (cough) on the best-seller list.

The New York Times informed HarperCollins this week that it will not include Ted Cruz’s new biography on its forthcoming bestsellers list, despite the fact that the book has sold more copies in its first week than all but two of the Times’ bestselling titles, the On Media blog has learned.

Just going by number of copies sold, ATfT ought to be #3 or so this week.  The New York Times, however, says that it has standards that include analysis of sales patterns, not just units sold. In other words, the NYT is looking out for bulk sales. It’s going to be harder to cheat your way onto the best-seller list by having organizations buy up your book in bulk.

Or, as Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy explained,

“In the case of this book, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases,” she wrote.

This is a scam that’s been going on for a long time, and I’m glad the Times is calling it out, finally. As you probably know already, here’s how it works: Somebody writes a book titled Liberals Are Awful and Will Eat Your Baby. Conservative “book clubs,” think tanks, and other organizations buy up tens of thousands of copies in bulk, making the book a “best seller.” Then they either re-sell copies at a steep discount or give them away at conferences or as part of a promotion for something else (sign up for our newsletter and get a free copy of … ). It’s a variation of “wingnut welfare,” in other words.

Eventually, most of the copies will end up in landfills, unread. But the book is on the  best-seller list, which earns the author a lot of publicity and interviews and television guest spots to promote right-wing nonsense.

Back in 2007, five Regnery authors realized they weren’t being paid royalties for all the tens of thousands of copies that allegedly were sold, and they sued. Regnery was selling the books at a steep discount to its own affiliates, giving books away as premiums to newsletter subscribers, and donating them in bulk to like-minded organizations. Obviously, the authors weren’t making any money on all these books. Regnery called this a marketing strategy.

Sarah Palin boosted sales of her own books with $64,000 in bulk purchases made by her own political action group, SarahPAC. The books were offered free to anyone who made a donation of $100 or more. Awhile back Mitt Romney cranked up sales of his book No Apology by asking institutions to buy thousands of copies in exchange for his speeches

The hosts ranged from Claremont McKenna College to the Restaurant Leadership Conference, many of whom are accustomed to paying for high-profile speakers like Romney. Asking that hosts buy books is also a standard feature of book tours. But Romney’s total price — $50,000 — was on the high end, and his publisher, according to the document from the book tour — provided on the condition it not be described in detail — asked institutions to pay at least $25,000, and up to the full $50,000 price, in bulk purchases of the book. With a discount of roughly 40 percent, that meant institutions could wind up with more than 3,000 copies of the book — and a person associated with one of his hosts said they still have quite a pile left over.

For a while, the Times was marking “bulk sales” books with an asterisk, but now they’ve gone the extra mile and simply are not listing them. If more “best seller” compilers do this, it could kill right-wing publishing.

Getting back to Ted Cruz’s book — HarperCollins is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, note. So far I haven’t been able to find out who the bulk purchasers were. Cruz does have his fans who no doubt bought his book legitimately. But do any of them read?

Update: Here’s another way to scam the system I didn’t even know about.

In essence, The Times accused Cruz’s publisher of trying to buy its way onto the bestseller list by having a firm like Result Source hire thousands of people across America to individually purchase a copy of “A Time For Truth,” in the hope that some of those retailers are on the secret list of booksellers who report their sales to the Times, or that the aggregate purchasers will simply be too high for the Times to ignore.


He’s Out of Control

Bad Hair

Yep, the Donald is out of control, ripping everyone who looks at him funny whether they are Republicans or Dems. And he has vaulted to the top of the latest GOP presidential poll. And such members of the rightie intelligentsia as Rush, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter are cheering him on.

Here’s a news story explaining why Republicans shouldn’t worry about the Trump surge. Ooops, it’s dated July 2. Maybe they should worry.

The Donald is likely to flame out before formal debates begin, but if he doesn’t, we should be in for some fun. By the Republicans’ own rules they’d have to let him in the debates, and he’s likely to turn them into the best reality show ever.  Better than Bridezillas, even.

Some in media are questioning whether to take him seriously, or whether he’s just messing with our heads. Frankly, I think he takes himself seriously.  I think he absolutely believes he should be emperor of the world. And I think he absolutely ought to be on heavy medication. Otherwise, why would he be making such a fool of himself? What’s in it for him, really?

The GOP establishment must be frantic to find a way to muzzle him. Good luck with that, guys.


The Smarter Brother Actually Said This

The Smarter Brother

Jeb Bush:

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

Even better than Mittens’s “47 percent” remark, I’d say. This was from a live-streamed interview. Which means there’s video.

Jeb is toast.

See also “Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil.”

Update: Scott Walker and Republicans in the Wisconsin state legislature just eliminated workers’ rights to weekends off.


Dumping the Donald

Bad Hair, Republican Party

I hope everybody had a lovely 4th of July and will enjoy some barbeque this weekend.

NASCAR has joined the Donald Trump pile-on and has announced it has changed an awards banquet venue because of his remarks about Mexicans. It appears The Donald is genuinely surprised by this. Yesterday he said he knew campaigning could be rough, but he didn’t think it would be this severe.

“I knew it was going to be bad because I was told this. All my life I have been told this: If you are successful, you don’t run for office,” Trump said in an interview onFox News, addressing the recent spate of businesses that have severed their relationships with his brand. “I didn’t know it was going to be quite this severe, but I really knew it was going to be bad.”

See, all these companies — NBC, Macy’s, Serta, etc. — are turning on The Donald because he is successful. And how did he get successful?

Trump was born in New York City in 1946, the son of real estate tycoon Fred Trump. Fred Trump’s business success not only provided Donald Trump with a posh youth of private schools and economic security but eventually blessed him with an inheritance worth an estimated $40 million to $200 million. It is critical to note, however, that his father’s success, which granted Donald Trump such a great advantage, was enabled and buffered by governmental financing programs. In 1934, while struggling during the Great Depression, financing from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) allowed Fred Trump to revive his business and begin building a multitude of homes in Brooklyn, selling at $6,000 apiece. Furthermore, throughout World War II, Fred Trump constructed FHA-backed housing for US naval personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast.

In 1974 Donald Trump became president of his father’s organization. During the 15 years following his ascension, he expanded and innovated the corporation, buying and branding buildings, golf courses, hotels, casinos, and other recreational facilities. In 1980 he established The Trump Organization to oversee all of his real estate operations.

Trump eventually found himself in serious financial trouble. In 1990, due to excessive leveraging, The Trump Organization revealed that it was $5 billion in debt ($8.8 billion by some estimates), with $1 billion personally guaranteed by Trump himself. The survival of the company was made possible only by a bailout pact agreed upon in August of that same year by some 70 banks, allowing Trump to defer on nearly $1 billion in debt, as well as to take out second and third mortgages on almost all of his properties. If it were not for the collective effort of all banks and parties involved in that 1990 deal, Trump’s business would have gone bankrupt and failed.

In other words, it didn’t take exceptionally hard work or brilliance.

In our culture, to paraphrase a line from Michael Shaara, there’s nothing as close to a god on earth than a billionaire CEO. I’m sure The Donald has gotten away with saying anything he wanted to say and being the biggest asshole he could be, and nobody has dared correct him. And at this point he’s turned into a caricature of himself.

FYI, the Donald is currently at the top of the GOP presidential contender polls, at 13.6 percent. Jeb Bush is second, at 13.3 percent. The next three are Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Scott Walker has fallen to sixth place, at 8 percent. Republican voters relate to mean and stupid, apparently.


To the Mattresses

Republican Party

I know this is going to break your heart, but the Serta mattress company is dumping the Donald Trump mattress. The Donald has already been dumped by Univision, Macy’s and NBC. Bill de Blasio, el alcalde de la ciudad de Nueva York, says the city is reconsidering its business relationships with Trump, including a new golf course in the Bronx.

Naturally, the Donald is surging in the polls. God bless America.

Charles Pierce, yesterday:

It has been an article of faith in this shebeen almost since we opened it in 2011 that there is no actual Republican party in any real sense any more. Ever since the Supreme Court legalized influence-peddling in its Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, there only has been a loosely held group of independent franchises who are doing business for themselves under the Republican Party brand. This is why the suits belonging to obvious anagram Reince Preibus are so very empty.

So far, it seems to me the 2016 GOP nomination competition will go the way of the 2012 circus, in which one clown candidate after another took the lead and then lost it as soon as voters  — and backers — started to actually look at him. This may be happening to Scott Walker already.

Although lots of political reporters have already written off the Jeb Bush campaign, right now it appears Jeb is the new Mittens. Maybe nobody really likes him, but at least he can be cleaned up and made to look respectable.

On the other side of the fence, Bernie Sanders also is surging, sort of. Hillary Clinton is still way ahead of everybody, but Sanders has cut her lead. Joan Walsh:

But the rise of Sanders, alongside that of the GOP’s surging star, blustering racist Donald Trump, also shows the media the difference between the ideological moorings of the folks who make up the Democratic and Republican base. The Democrats have a lot of lefties, FDR Democrats, folks who want single payer health insurance, people who think we can learn from Western Europe not stigmatize it — and yes, Sanders excites them. On the GOP side, there is a loud, large, angry segment of the GOP base that’s frankly xenophobic, nativist, even racist. Trump speaks to them.

I do disagree with Walsh that news media are creating the Sanders surge out of “deranged Clinton hate.” Before this week the media wasn’t taking Sanders seriously as a candidate. It’s also been news media that’s largely responsible for the mantle of inevitability wrapped around HRC.

From what I’ve seen, Clinton backers are certain she’s the only one who can beat Republican candidate X. It’s been my observation that this is the most frequent reason they give for supporting her. It’s also been my observation that those who prefer Sanders are more likely to point to the issues he’s talking about as a reason to support him, although there’s some Clinton bashing, too.

But though Bernie himself is unlikely to be nominated, IMO he represents the party’s future. If it has a future. The Dems have been something like a loosely held group of independent franchises since the 1970s, albeit much less lucrative franchises than their Republican counterparts. My concern is that the young folks won’t turn out for HRC, and/or that eight years of an HRC Administration will persuade the Millennials and whomever come after them that party politics serve no purpose that helps them. They’re pretty much certain of that now, from what I see.


The Lost Cause Is Losing

American History, Republican Party

As political support for keeping Confederate flags flying over statehouses evaporates, and as even Wal-Mart has declared it will stop stocking Confederate flag merchandise (current inventory is moving at a brisk pace, though), the Moonlight and Magnolia bitter enders are filled with despair.

“This is the beginning of communism,” said Robert Lampley, who was standing in the blazing sun in front of the South Carolina State House shortly after the legislature voted overwhelmingly to debate the current placement of the Confederate battle flag. “The South is the last bastion of liberty and independence. I know we’re going to lose eventually.”

“Our people are dying off,” he went on, before encouraging a white reporter to “keep reproducing.”

They’re worried that some tidal wave will destroy Confederate monuments and force the re-naming of all the (Nathan Bedford) Forrest Avenues to Malcolm X Boulevards. Heh.

One guy suggested removing the Confederate flag from statehouses and replacing it with another flag associated with the Confederacy (there were several) but not associated with racist movements.

“You’re asking me to agree that my great-grandparent and great-great-grandparents were monsters,” said Greg Stewart, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the executive director of Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis.

No, we’re asking you to agree that your great-grandparent and great-great grandparents lost the freaking war and surrendered their flags to Gen. J. L. Chamberlain at Appomattox 150 years ago. The Lost Cause is really, truly lost. Try to adjust.

Some of them are complaining that the change is coming too fast. Too fast? It’s been 150 bleeping years.

Today the governor of Alabama ordered a Confederate flag be removed from state capitol grounds. Sen. Mitch McConnell requested that a statue of Jefferson Davis be removed from the Kentucky state capitol. Well, he’s still got most of a six-year term to serve; he probably feels safe. Governors of several states are requesting that Confederate specialty license plates be redesigned.

My guess is that these guys realized this was going to have to happen sooner or later, and they might as well do it now while they’ve got some political cover.


Premeditated Stupidity

Republican Party

Why Conservatives Still Won’t Admit That Charleston Was A Racist Crime

The “why” is simple, really. If you’ve been campaigning on racist dogwhistles for umpteen years and are trying to appeal to a voter base of bigots, acknowledging racism is political suicide. Live by the dogwhistle, die by the dogwhistle.

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