First, enjoy the highlights of Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards congressional testimony yesterday:
Charles Pierce explains how the Democratic Republic of Congo got mixed up in this:
You may be baffled by the sudden appearance in the colloquy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, arguably the worst place in the world right now. What the fck does Chaffetz care about the DRC? That’s because you do not spend 20 hours a day marinating in the right-wing media crackpot crockpot. Here are the ingredients: a) the fact thatÂ the DRC is a nightmarish placeÂ where children are forced into prostitution and trafficked freely; b) that thereÂ isÂ AN E-MAIL!Â that revealedÂ that Bill Clinton once did not speak at an event at which Joseph Kabila, the vampirish leader of the DRC would be in attendance, and c) PP is active there in trying to make sure that the women caught up in an epidemic of brutal sexual violence stay relatively healthy and that they do not get pregnant by their rapists if they do not want to do so. It’s Fetus-Fondling Bingo. Oh, and by the way, the staunchly red state of MissouriÂ concluded its investigationÂ of Planned Parenthood’s activities in that state.
Like the several other states that have investigated Planned Parenthood since the hoax videos came out, Missouri found nothing.
The major issue in our current dysfunction is the struggle within a Republican Party that is not the traditional battle between moderates and conservatives â€” there are no moderates any more to speak of â€” but between radical insurgents and right-wing realists. The realists, like Boehner, understand that divided government requires compromise; the radicals’ credo is “never give up, never surrender.”
Paradoxically, the radicals were encouraged in those views by establishment conservatives who channeled their anger and outrage into House and Senate G.O.P. majorities in 2010 and 2014 by promising that they could defeat Obama and along the way bring him to his knees; the radical outrage now has been amplified by the failure of those promises. Boehner’s departure does not heal the breach; it enhances it. Radicals have won, forcing Boehner out. Now the big target will be Mitch McConnell, and Boehner’s successor, almost certainly Kevin McCarthy, won’t be far behind.
McCarthy is as right-wing as they come, but news stories say he’s a “pragmatist,” meaning he has a dim idea that reactionary Republicans are unlikely to gain absolute power by throwing temper tantrums. This will be McCarthy’s doom.Â Gary Legum:
If McCarthy wants an example of what can happen to a congressional leader who makes promises to the extreme conservatives and then doesnâ€™t deliver, he should look not to his friend John Boehner but to one of his co-authors of the 2010 book â€œYoung Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders.â€ The cover of that book shows McCarthy smiling with Rep. Paul Ryan and then-House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a one-time Tea Party favorite who helped hold the Republican coalition together to fight every legislative initiative proposed by the Obama administration. Then he was booted from office by a hardcore conservative named David Brat, who promised to not only fight Obama, but also roll back his legislative successes.
That there is no plausible path to this goal so long as the Republicans do not have a filibuster- or veto-proof majority in the Senate, or while Obama and his veto pen remain in the White House, does not dissuade Brat and like-minded conservatives, who still think Republicans can force the president to sign legislation repealing all of his accomplishments if they only try super-duper really extra hard.
Currently McCarthy’s chief rival is Daniel Webster of Florida, who unfortunately is not THE Daniel Webster. The new Daniel Webster is arguably a worse whackjob than McCarthy:
Websterâ€™s association with IBLP and its homeschooling program, the Advanced Training Institute,Â made national headlinesÂ when he first ran for Congress in 2010. Alan Grayson, the firebrand incumbent Democrat, criticized Webster, who had served 28 years in the Florida legislature, in an ad characterizing him as â€œTaliban Dan.â€ The ad showed clips from a Webster speech to an IBLP conference during which he spoke of a biblical command that wives submit to their husbands. Webster, who went on to win the election, insisted the clips were taken out of context.
IBLP also is opposed to public education, contraception, “humanistic” laws, and rock music.