New Spin: The 99 Percent Are Elitists

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Charles Pierce has a delicious takedown of Bobo’s latest, in which the amazing keyboarding cabbage tells us that the discontent in the peasant class is really about (a) Harvard grads jealous because they are not gaining in prestige as rapidly as some of their classmates; or (b) the lesser educated, who don’t appreciate the virtues of chastity and hard work.

Seriously. If Marie Antoinette had been a New York Times columnist, she might have written this.

Elsewhere — perhaps concerned that the New York Post‘s accounts of orgies and STDs in Zuccotti Park aren’t doing the job, the latest smear of OWS is that the protesters are mostly spoiled rich white kids. The Daily Caller and David Brooks must have gotten the same memo.

Among addresses for which information is available, single-family homes listed on those police intake forms have a median value of $305,000 — a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied housing units in the United States.

As Steve M points out, $305,000 actually is below the median home price in the New York metropolitan area. Here’s a home for sale for $305,000 in Queens. [Update: The link isn’t displaying the photo, so I’m adding it here.]

In Manhattan, $305,000 can get you a co-op in Washington Heights (see Washington Heights).

“The median monthly rent for those living in apartments whose information is readily available is $1,850.” Again, that’s way below the median. I did a bit more searching and found what looked liked habitable studio and 1 bedroom apartments at $1,800 in Manhattan, but we’re not talking luxury. The young folks tend to squeeze three or four roommates into little apartments like that and split the rent.

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Will Cain Be Cancelled?

Republican Party, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Yesterday John Cole asked an interesting question:

While Cain’s bizarre and shifting responses to the sexual harassment charges are interesting, I think the weirdest thing about this whole incident is what provoked it. Who fed this to the Politico, because we know for a fact they weren’t doing due diligence on Cain and just stumbled across it. They don’t do journalism, they do rumor and innuendo and fluff pieces, mixed in with planted trial balloons and horse race analysis and he said she said crap from anonymous sources and unnamed officials.

So who fed them this? Rove? The Romney team?

The allegations against Cain really do have Karl Rove’s modus operandi written all over them. Steve Kornacki walks us through the Scandal Thus Far, and while there’s a heck of a lot of smoke, the actual fire seen so far doesn’t seem to amount to that much.

I’ve been holding back talking about the allegations, partly because part of me would like to see Cain continue to challenge Romney for the GOP nomination. (I’ve been looking at Cain’s policy proposals on his campaign website and much of it is in Ron Paul territory. In other words, he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the general election.) So far, the sex scandal has been dismissed by righties as an evil libruhl plot, even as they slaver over New York Post stories about sex among the OWSers at Zuccotti Park.

There’s also been an attempt to smear Cain with the background of his cigarette-smoking campaign manager, but frankly I don’t see that getting any traction, either.

Several rightie bloggers have picked up on an interview of Cain by Judy Woodruff, in which he says he is concerned that China might get nuclear weapons in the future. WTF? It’s possible he just misspoke, as Gerald Ford did in 1976 when he said “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.” That possibly cost Ford the election.

But that was 1976. Right now the isolationists seem to be shouting out the neocons over in Wingnut World, and baggers would be challenged to find China on a map, never mind have a clue about its nuclear capabilities. So I don’t know if that little flub is going to hurt him, either. We’ll see. If a Democrat were to have said something like that, that’s all we’d hear about from now to election day. And if Karl really is the one behind the sex scandal stories, this is the sort of thing he would seize upon to club Cain. However, he’s going to have to find a proxy somewhere to do the actual clubbing.

Update:The Fringe Frontrunner.”

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The Social Security Crisis, ca. 1997

Obama Administration

The Cato Institute says Social Security will “go bust in 2010”! Oh, wait …

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Here’s Your Wealth Redistribution

Republican Party, Taxes, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Eric Cantor found the courage to speak at the University of Michigan to an audience limited to 250. And he boldly spoke out in favor of being fair to his owners the rich.

“Social justice is about fairness. Fairness is making sure that we afford opportunities for everyone to pursue their happiness,” Cantor said. “There are several folks that have stood up to say tax the rich. That that’s somehow fair.”

“That all we have to do is redistribute the wealth and we can create the American dream for more.” he continued. “That doesn’t work… wealth distribution doesn’t work.”

Interesting if he really said “wealth distribution” instead of “redistribution,” and James Fallows shows us that wingnuts are no slackers when it comes to wealth distribution.

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Invasion of the Party Snatchers

Obama Administration

Kind of a follow up to the last postActor 212 and David Frum both discuss the destruction of the Republican Party as we know it. By “as we know it,” I mean a political party in the tradition of American political parties.

This is not to say that the GOP is going to disappear; far from it. It’s saying that the thing we call the Republican Party is being replaced by an alien entity that is a political party only in the broadest and loosest sense of the word.

The last post was about how the direction of the party is being steered by a self-selected external committee and not the elected Republican National Committee. Today, Actor and Frum write about the destructive influence of the Tea Party. But the Tea Party is a kind of Frankenstein’s Monster fabricated directly or indirectly by some of the same outsiders on the self-select committee, such as the Koch brothers and Karl Rove.

(Karl may not like the baggers, but he made baggerism possible. They were spawned in the toxic swamp of Karl’s brand of politicking.)

The Republican Party is rapidly turning into the wholly owned instrument of the 1 percent of the 1 percent, with a base made up of zombie baggers trained to lurch in whatever direction the dog whistles tell them to lurch. The party is no longer responding to the opinions and needs of voters at all, and it represents no one but its owners.

Happy Halloween.

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What Citizens United Hath Wrought

Republican Party

Here’s a fascinating article by Nicholas Confessore in the New York Times. Apparently the Republican Party is no longer being run by the Republican Party. Instead, its direction is being managed by a dozen or so powerful men —

But almost none of them hold office or a job with the Republican Party itself. Instead, they represent conservative groups that channeled tens of millions of dollars into last year’s Congressional campaign. And as 2012 approaches, the groups — among them the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, the American Action Network and Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers — have gathered into a loosely organized political machine poised to rival, and in many ways supplant, the official Republican Party apparatus.

This crew has taken over efforts to defeat Obama and pick off vulnerable Dems in the House and Senate.

Like the party committees they are rapidly coming to eclipse, the independent groups are financed by some of the Republican Party’s wealthiest donors and operated by some of its most respected operatives and strategists. But thanks to the Citizens United decision, the independent groups can raise money in unlimited amounts and with negligible overhead. Much of the money will be spent through not-for-profit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors.

Most of the groups answer only to a few dozen deep-pocketed donors, rather than the elected officials who oversee traditional party efforts.

This is the 1 percent of the 1 percent. And they own the Republican Party. Not so much the Dems:

Democrats are also setting up independent groups that are staffed by party veterans. But those efforts appear to be progressing more slowly, in part because there is less of a vacuum to fill. Mr. Obama, the most prodigious fund-raiser in the country, has been able to inject tens of millions of dollars in campaign financing into the Democratic National Committee.

This is truly dangerous stuff.

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Making It Up

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Via Krugman — the Columbia Journalism Review analyzes a post at the American Enterprise Union on why income inequality is a myth. The remarkable thing about the post is that the author doesn’t even try to manipulate data; he just flat-out lies about it. He cites studies revealing income inequality and claims they say just the opposite.

See also Charles Pierce, “Everybody Is the 99 Percent,” and while you are there, see “The Republican Addiction to Attack Politics Has Backfired.”

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The Empty Shell of Movement Conservatism

conservatism, Republican Party, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

George Will writes a floundering column about what a shame it is that Romney is the most “electable” GOP candidate running for office. “Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?” Will wails.

Alexander Burns clarifies at Politico,

Even as Republicans come around to the idea that Romney may be their strongest opponent for President Obama, many are still convinced that a Romney presidency would represent a historic missed opportunity for the right.

At a moment in history when the Democratic incumbent in the White House ought to be extremely vulnerable, not to mention a Republican majority in both houses of Congress easily within reach, the Republican presidential field looks like a collection of rejects from the Island of Misfit Toys. And the one candidate who might possibly win the general election is, in some ways, the biggest “misfit” of all — someone movement conservatism considers to be an outsider.

How did this happen? How is it that such a dominant movement does not have a “deep bench,” so to speak, of respectable candidates that the establishment could market to the masses?

Part of the answer, IMO, is that “movement conservatism” has long been an empty shell of a movement. Beneath the facade of long-discredited ideas and deceptive talking points are nothing but resentment, bigotry, greed, and a deep sense of privileged entitlement.

Plus, the several factions within it don’t seem interested in going in the same direction. The neocons these days seem well outnumbered by isolationist social conservatives, for example, although the neocons still have a pretty big media megaphone.

On top of that, years of “politicking” with nothing but lies and dog whistles have left Republicans with a base that is utterly out of touch with majority public opinion, not to mention reality. Any candidate who might clean up well enough to have a shot at the general election couldn’t possible pass muster with the base.

I’m not saying that movement conservatism is about to dissolve away into the political ether. The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy still has the money and the media. And between gerrymandering and voter suppression laws, they are as much as glued into federal and state legislatures. I expect them to continue to hold power way out of proportion to their actual support among voters for many years to come.

No, I’m just explaining to George Will how movement conservatism came to this.

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Stuff to Read

Obama Administration

Republicans’ “job-creating” spending cuts destroyed 370,000 jobs.

68% of millionaires are OK with paying more taxes.

John Boehner complains that the President is overstepping his constitutional authority. In the next breath, Boehner says the President has given up on governing and is doing nothing but campaigning. Our President is one talented guy — a slacker authoritarian?

An article at Bloomberg/Business Week explains why flat tax plans don’t perform as advertised. But Stephen Moore at the Wall Street Journal think they work just fine —

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry must be onto something with his flat tax. Liberals wasted no time on Tuesday shooting arrows at the Texas governor’s proposal, labeling it a giant-sized tax cut for millionaires and billionaires that’s paid for with higher taxes on the middle class.

See? Flat tax plans annoy liberals. What more do you want?

Obama administration spokesman Ben LaBolt said the flat tax “would shift a greater share of taxes away from large corporations and the wealthiest onto the backs of the middle class.” Mr. Obama’s team just can’t get away from the class warfare theme.

And on and on. Moore doesn’t refute any of the criticisms of flat tax plans; he just thinks they’re trivial little details that shouldn’t concern anyone.

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Polls and Predictions

elections, Republican Party

If you can stand another post about Herman Cain this morning — Nate Silver has a post about Cain’s chances for winning the nomination.

If all you had to go on was the polls, you might think that Mr. Cain was the favorite to win the Republican nomination.

But then there are the nonpolling factors, some of which can be objectively measured and some of which cannot, but which would generally point toward Mr. Cain as being a second- or third-tier candidate. Mr. Cain has no endorsements from Republican members of Congress or Republican governors, and very few from officials in key early voting states. He has raised very little money. He has not hired well-known names for his campaign staff. He does not have traditional credentials. He has run for elected office just once before. He has begun to get a fair amount of media coverage, but the tenor of it has been fairly skeptical. His campaign commercials have been … interesting.

Has there ever been a candidate with such strong polling but such weak fundamentals? Almost certainly not, at least not at this relatively advanced stage of the race.

I’m just speculating here, but what this might be telling us is that endorsements and positive media coverage may mean much less to the Republican voting base than it used to.

According to (don’t click if you’re at work) this video, Cain coverage has been dominating Fox News lately. This is not all good coverage, mind you, but Fox viewers sure as heck have seen a lot of Cain.

Recently Karl Rove did a takedown of Cain on Fox News that was supposed to be devastating. Politico ran a headline about it that said “Karl Rove sticks a fork in Herman Cain.” I did a quick survey of rightie blog reaction to this, and I saw not one post or comment that agreed with Rove; most just yelled at him to get off the lawn, so to speak. Rove appears to have no authority at all with the base.

On the other hand, I take it Rush is still promoting Cain, who is running ads on Rush’s show.

Nate says you can find examples of candidates with strong “fundamentals” (endorsements; the support of the establishment) and weak polling. One example that comes to mind was Haley Barbour, whom the GOP establishment and bobbleheads kept promoting as a real contender, but the base ignored him. But it’s unprecedented, at this point in the campaign cycle, to have a candidate who is polling this strongly but whose fundamentals are next to zilch.

Would the Republican voters nominate a black candidate? I’ve said for some time that the dynamics of racism on the Right are more complicated than they were when Lester Maddox and his axe handle ran for governor of Georgia on a segregation platform. The wingnuts might vote for a black candidate who (a) assures them they are not really racists, like those liberals keep saying; and (b) is not likely to come anywhere near their womenfolk.

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