The WSJ is the voice of the DC-New York GOP establishment, and that voice was crackling with anger and tears on Tuesday.
Let's just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose.
Well, yes. They deserve to lose because they've learned nothing from spectacular failures of the Bush/Cheney years and are doubling down on every right-wing fetish: Even lower taxes! Even more wealth inequality! Even more war! Even fewer regulations! Let's deport 12 million people! Let's bring back child labor!
But I digress.
Above all, it doesn't matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing. All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won't be another fiasco. But they can't be reasonably sure, so it's going to be four more years of the disappointment you already know.
But won't Newt beat Obama in the debates?
A primary ballot for Mr. Gingrich is a vote for an entertaining election, not a Republican in the White House.
Ouch. But...but...don't we need a businessman to create jobs?
On the evidence of his campaign, Mr. Romney is a lousy CEO.
Oh, snap! And the big finish!
...the U.S. will surely survive four more years. Who knows? By then maybe Republicans will have figured out that if they don't want to lose, they shouldn't run with losers.
Cheer up, WSJers! There's got to be a Bush lying around somewhere for 2016. In the meantime, please note that Newt and Willard are advocating exactly the same policies you've cheered on for decades.
On a day when Americans remember the lives that were sacrificed during the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Gingrich reminded us all what this momentous occasion is really all about when he chirpily tweeted, “The 69th anniversary of the japanese [sic] attack is a good time to remind folks of our novels pearl harbor and days of infamy newt.”
Newt did later delete that tweet, but not before the Twitterverse saw how he wanted to exploit such a tragic day in American history for his own personal gain. This really speaks a lot about someone who wants to be President and does beg the question - where is Rudy Giuliani?
So I've been following recently the debate that's been going on between Digby and Jamelle Bouie over whether it's really wise to use hyperbole and over-the-top mockery to thrash your political opponents. As you can imagine, I largely side with Digby on this matter and find constructions like this from Bouie to be particularly annoying:
Unlike myself, Moulitsas isn't a journalist, and his job isn't to be an honest broker for ideas; no, it's to rally progressives and score points against conservatives.
Bouie seems to me like the sort of person, to use the phrase of an old acquaintance, who would have been extremely upset that the wicked John Swift would suggest eating all those Irish babies.
Using hyperbole and outlandish mockery to skewer one's political opponents is a wonderful human tradition that extends back centuries. Not only is it a terrific way to blow off steam, but if done smartly it also garners attention by making your opponents convulse into fits of rage. Newt Gingrich understands this better than any other political figure -- he'll say stuff that he knows is outrageous and untrue simply to capture media attention and to push the conversation further to the right. Instead of coming out and saying, "I disapprove of Obama's plan to open up exchanges where people can get government-subsidized health insurance," he says something along the lines of "Barack Hussein Obama's secular socialist machine and its government takeover of health care post a greater threat to the United States than Hitler ever did." While liberals will all shriek and hem and haw about Gingrich's ridiculous rhetoric, the media will report it as, "Liberals deny that Obamacare is worse than the Nazis."
The idea is that you should always be whacking your opponent in the face with something that will force them to respond in a defensive manner. Markos understands this very well which is why his blog has been such a huge success in mobilizing people and money to elect progressive candidates over the past decade. The liberal establishment, best exemplified by Bouie's quote above, thinks that we only need to be "honest brokers for ideas" in order to win over the American public. Sorry but that ain't so.
Newt Gingrich, like many movement Conservative figures of the last twenty years, is very skilled at debating for his beliefs. He is a black belt wordsmith of the tenth degree and has received the coveted "H2O" lapel pin from the Aqua Buddha himself. We see him on FOX News and every other news program pontificating his conservative values incessantly and to the untrained eye or casual passerby, he could appear intelligent and smart. However, we know the truth. He's a typical right wing windbag that uses those same words to lie his way to the top of the conservative food chain. Don't take my word for it, how about someone who knows him a little more intimately--like his second wife Marianne Gingrich? Marianne has the details:
But there was something strange and needy about him. "He was impressed easily by position, status, money," she says. "He grew up poor and always wanted to be somebody, to make a difference, to prove himself, you know. He has to be historic to justify his life."
His actions are all a lie--meaningless except for the great payoff from rich GOP supporters.
"There's somebody else, isn't there?"
She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?
She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. "'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.'"
He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.
He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.
The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"
"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."
Wow. This says it all. People like Newt believe they are above it all.
How can Americans trust this man's word on any moral or policy issue? He doesn't believe he has to live by his words, but you do! Even though he has no idea or doesn't trouble himself to care how those words would hurt working class families, he's very happy doing just the opposite.
I know there's a psychological disorder somewhere in the DSM-IV that fits that one. We all knew that he served his first wife divorce papers in her hospital bed, but not these intimate details. And the one thing that this piece does tell us is that he doesn't live by the words his sermonizes to us about, nor does he believe he should. Anyway, he is a one creepy MFer.
She says she should have seen the red flags. "He asked me to marry him way too early. And he wasn't divorced yet. I should have known there was a problem."
Within weeks or months?
She looks skeptical. "It's not so much a compliment to me. It tells you a little bit about him."
And he did the same thing to her eighteen years later, with Callista Bisek, the young congressional aide who became his third wife. "I know. I asked him. He'd already asked her to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked."
Carlson: Yeah, this is about who's going to lead the Republican Party, not simply who's going to be the chosen presidential candidate in '12. But who's gonna be the soul of the party?
And there are a bunch of different elements here. I think Sarah Palin's presence, as always, brings a lot of excitement, also a lot of drama. And so a lot of stories going into this were about whether she will arrive in the first place, or whether she'll show up, whether she'll talk. Probably not a good storyline for the GOP.
Newt Gingrich, looks to me, is emerging as, certainly the intellectual center of the Republican Party -- the smartest, most energetic guy, and I think last night, kind of, is -- part of the process is solidifying that. Newt Gingrich is, I believe, running for president, and he's certainly the guy people are looking to for ideas in the Republican Party.
Newt Gingrich for President in 2012. Why tell the truth when you can Lie to the Top?
Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
"An outrageous disrespect" is a little grammatically shaky for a scholar and published author. Still, unlike Sarah Palin's sanitized Facebook feed, Newt.org doesn't seem to mind a little dissent. Or a lot of it. Some of the comments that have been up on Gingrich's site since last night:
• Newt you cheated on your first wife then dumped her when she was in the hospital with cancer. Later you cheated on your second wife with a 27 year old congressional aide. Maybe you should pipe down about defending marriage.
• No, I want to hear more from the twice-divorced man about how marriage has to be reserved for one man and one woman. I wonder if the two former Mrs. Gingriches would testify as to Newt's reverence for marriage.
My favorite was the commenter who asked which of his three marriages did Newt consider "sacred".
Fortunately for Newt (and less fortunately for we progressives looking for a laugh), his webmaster has wised up and it appears he/she has deleted the post altogether. But still, you gotta hand it to Newt for the absolute audacity to feel entitled to pundify on Prop 8 at all.
We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship.
We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.
The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.
There are many emotions and few facts swirling around this argument.
First and foremost, the Cordoba House is not a mosque as Muslims generally use the term. There will be no minarets, no calls to prayer. It is a cultural center, which will include a prayer room. From their website:
This proposed project is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic values in their truest form - compassion, generosity, and respect for all.
The site will contain tremendous amounts of resources that otherwise would not exist in Lower Manhattan; a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores, restaurants - all these services would form a cultural nexus for a region of New York City that, as it continues to grow, requires the sort of hub that Cordoba House will provide.
That sounds really insensitive, doesn't it? The Cordoba House is planned along the same lines as the nearby 92nd St Y, which offers Jewish cultural events through out the year.
And finally, as much as it pains me to have to point out something so obvious, it was not just Christians and Jews who died on 9/11, any more than it was not just Americans. And the Muslims who live and wish to gather in New York at the Cordoba House are more than likely Americans. You know, with their Constitutionally-protected right to practice the faith of their choice. Do they not deserve a chance to heal from this tragedy as well? They must face the irrational bigotry of people like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich appealing to the lizard brains of their neighbors. The scars they have carried and the burden and suspicion they must face daily because of some fringe extremists in a faith 1.5 billion strong is a little like holding every American Christian as suspect because of the acts of Fred Phelps.
I just love it when Karl Rove goes all Projectionist on us and starts whining that the Obama White House is being tooooooo political. Anticipating today's planned speech on immigration reform from President Obama, Karl Rove went on Greta Van Susteren's show last night and warned that this was all Machiavellian theater:
Rove: Now, I gotta tell you, this is cynical, and it is hypocritical, and it's political with an issue that oughtn't to be treated sincerely, honestly, and outside of politics as much as possible.
I don't think the president's really interested in passing comprehensive immigration reform this year. He just wants a political issue to jazz up Latinos, and to get them to vote, maybe not for Democrats this fall, but for him in 2012.
He knows all too well that the Republicans' bellicose Latino bashing, embodied in Arizona's SB1070 and the right's ongoing adamant defense of it, will cost Republicans Latino voters for many years to come -- and considering demographic trends, that spells disaster for the GOP. Newt Gingrich knows this too, and has tried to use similar wedge rhetoric to cast Obama's motives as purely cynical.
On the other hand, he campaigned openly on immigration reform, and brought it up frequently during the 2008 election. He's also continually promised to move it forward, though as Rove suggests, his commitment has tended to flicker in the wind.
Still, it took Republicans in Arizona to finally prove, once and for all, that comprehensive reform can't wait. Because if it continues to sit on the back burner, the Republican nativists are going to be busy enacting their agenda in the vacuum.
It'll kill them in the long run -- maybe even in the short run too -- but they can't help themselves. It's just in their natures. Like projecting his own ugly predilections onto everyone else is in Karl Rove's.
If you haven't seen this video yet, you should. Jane Hamsher's put it up at FDL, Dave Johnson's got it up at Our Future, and I've shown it on The Huffington Post. Alan Simpson of Wyoming sounds a lot more like Bart Simpson of Springfield in it - except without the humor. It's worth watching for sheer outrageousness, but remember: Simpson's one of two chairs of a bipartisan commission created by President Obama to study the Federal deficit.
His co-chair, the Democratic "counterweight" to Simpson's radical hostility toward the social safety net, is Erskine Bowles. Bowles was finalizing a deal with New Gingrich to cut Social Security when the Monica Lewinsky scandal derailed their agreement.
Here's what Simpson's comments reveal, besides an irascible personality: That he wants to create a sense of crisis around Social Security, that raiding Social Security to pay for other government expenditures is perfectly fine with him ... even though he's supposedly a "small government" conservative, that he's entered an Orwellian world where cutting Social Security isn't really "cutting" it, and that he'll use absurd rhetorical games to defend his position.
As you watch it, you'll see that Alex Lawson, Simpson's questioner, is well-informed, unfailingly polite, and a nice guy. Simpson, on the other hand, is raving like your drunken right-wing uncle at a Thanksgiving dinner gone wrong. What's he really saying here?
SIMPSON (regarding Social Security): It'll go broke in 2037.
LAWSON: What do you mean by 'broke'? Do you mean the surplus will go out and then it will only be able to pay 75% of its benefits?
SIMPSON: Just listen to me instead of babbling ...
Simpson then goes on to affirm Lawson's statement (without apology, of course.) But he resumes the fearmongering a minute later:
SIMPSON: ... There is not enough in the system by the month ... to pay out what comes in. In other words there is more going out than coming in. That happened 3 or 4 weeks ago.
LAWSON: ... Social Security is separate, though, from the general budget, right? It's totally in the green.
SIMPSON: But it wasn't. Just four weeks ago, there wasn't as much coming in as going out.
LAWSON: Except you're not calculating the interest paid on the bonds, because, if you do include that, it's still in the green this year.
SIMPSON: Well you can go through all the sophistry of babbling that you want to.
LAWSON: It's not sophistry. It's just what the SSA says. So I'm just going on the numbers.
Alex is absolutely right, and Simpson's the one engaging in sophistry - if by "sophistry" you mean, to use Simpson's word, "bulls**t." And it's fascinating to watch Simpson suddenly defend big government expenditures, even when (make that only when) people's own insurance payments - money they've paid to cover their retirement is borrowed and then left unpaid:
LAWSON: ... (W)hat about the $180 billion in surplus that (Social Security) brings in every year?
SIMPSON: There is no surplus in there. It's a bunch of IOUs.
LAWSON: That's what I wanted to actually get at.
SIMPSON: Listen. Listen. It's 2.5 trillion bucks in IOUs which have been used to build the interstate highway system and all of the things people have enjoyed since it has been setup.
LAWSON: Two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy.
SIMPSON: Whatever, whatever. You pick your crap and I'll pick the real stuff. It has to do with the highway system, it was to run America. And those are IOUs in there. And now there is not enough coming in every month ...
Simpson asserts that Social Security wasn't originally intended to pay for people so far into retirement because life expectancy was low in 1935, when SSI was created. That's true ... but the program's been modified since then to adjust for increased life expectancy. That leads to this whopper:
LAWSON: ---(I)t's my understanding from actually looking at the 1983 commission (which revamped Social Security), they actually started prefunding the retirement of the baby boom by building up that huge surplus.
SIMPSON: They never knew there was a baby boom in '83.
Really? They didn't there was a baby boom ... in 1983?? They didn't know how many babies had been born in the years 1948-1964? Here's the real reason Alan Simpson says outrageously false things like that:
Here's the bottom line. Simpson doesn't want to force the government to pay those bonds back, because it will probably require new taxes to pay for them. The Commission's likely to recommend some new taxes, but the Simpson crowd wants those increases to be a small as possible. Here's an example of that ideology in action:
LAWSON: The government doesn't actually own the bonds, it's the government owing...
SIMPSON: Let me say things in a way so your fans will understand this, so you can go and be a hero. There is not enough in the system ... So, what do they do? They go to that trust fund and say, 'We need the IOUs out of it.' And they say, 'You can have them, but you have to pay for them' ...
Paying for them ... which means more taxes ... is exactly what Simpson and his comrades don't want.
There's more - you can read the entire transcript at Jane's place or read a longer version of this post here. But you get the idea. Alan Simpson isn't just a cranky old man ... he's a cranky old man gunning for the financial security of older Americans.
And we're all going to be older Americans, if we're lucky enough to live that long.
Newt Gingrich got to continue his Fox News Book Promotion Tour last night on Sean Hannity's show, pitching his new book, To Save America: Why Liberals Want to Eat Your Children, picking up where he left off on Sunday's gig with Chris Wallace.
Let's just say that Gingrich without the restraints of Wallace's, ah, probing questions is kind of like root-canal work without the benefit of anesthetics.
Unlike Wallace, Hannity was openly promoting Gingrich's story line, to wit, that President Obama and the evil liberals are going to destroy America by instituting a "secular socialist" state. Hannity could scarcely contain himself as they contemplated Obama's supposed deep-seated radicalism.
Hannity, you see, believes with Gingrich that "we are in a battle for the heart and soul of America -- in fact, the greatest battle since the Civil War."
Just in case there was anyone out there wondering when right-wingers were going to get around to declaring civil war on liberals.
There were lots of prime bon mots, but perhaps my favorite was this one:
Gingrich: By the early 1990s, I thought, you know, we've proven all the major tenets of modern American conservatism. And it never occurred to me that the hard left would just dig in, bury themselves -- in the academic world, in the news media, in the labor unions -- and now have come back more left-wing, more radical, more determined than ever.
See, this is what we call "projection". Because as we all know, and are still experiencing, the "major tenets of modern conservatism" have just been exposed as a complete sham, a mockery of modern governance, by the eight years of the Bush administration -- eight years in which conservatives destroyed the economy, destroyed America's standing in the world, and horribly impacted the global environment.
And yes, you'd think after that experience, conservatives would stand back in shock at the recognition of what they've done to the economy and mend their ways. Probably no one (except those of us who know them too well) would imagine that they would just bury themselves in the work of denying heatedly that they just brought the nation to its knees and become more determined than ever to seize the reins of power by any means necessary. Including trying to invoke a civil war.