Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Karl Rove Pot and the Rick Perry Kettle

Republicans must really hate each other. Today, Karl Rove called Rick Perry's position on social security "toxic." What's next? Is Dick Cheney going to call Michele Bachmann "evil?"

Friday, September 02, 2011

Michele Bachmann Loses Political Virginity

I guess Michele Bachmann is losing her "Minnesota Nice." Having released her first nastily dishonest attack ad on Rick Perry yesterday, Bachmann joins Dick Cheney in demonstrating that Barack Obama isn't the only target of Republican viciousness.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dick Cheney and American Average-ism

Dick Cheney is out with another "exciting" leak from his book. Actually, it's a leak squared because Cheney is leaking that President Bush ordered a leak to David Ignatius about the situation in Iraq in 2007.

“On Tuesday morning, May 22 [2007]," Cheney writes, "a David Ignatius column appeared in the Washington Post titled ‘After the Surge: The Administration Floats Ideas for a New Approach in Iraq.’ It quoted administration officials on the need to revamp policy in order to attract bipartisan support and to take into account the fact that the surge might not have the stabilizing effect we had hoped.

In the final analysis, what Dick Cheney has to say in his book isn't very significant. It's what Cheney did as Vice-President that counts and Cheney ultimately made the U. S. much more of an average authoritarian country. Promoting the illegal invasion of Iraq, introducing torture into American treatment of terror suspects, the emergency rendition of terror suspects to countries where they would be tortured, maintaining a set of secret CIA prisons, and perverting the whole legal structure of American government in defense of torture all made our country much more like Castro's Cuba, Mubarak's Egypt, Gaddafi's Libya, and Assad's Syria than we had been.

Of course, the extension of the Arab Spring into the Libyan Summer and the Syrian Fall means that the U. S. is losing a number of our more brutal fellow-travelers. In a rapidly changing world, it's hard to stay average for very long.

What Was I Doing for Those Two Years?

Given that much as American conservatism is about the denial of reality, it's always interesting to follow the new twists in reality denial. Here, conservative Mission America commentator Linda Harvey denies that there's any such thing as gay, lesbian, bi-sexuals, or transgendered (LGBT) people.

There’s one big fact that’s not backed up. There is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human. One of the other things you’re gonna see as I mentioned is a big campaign GLSEN’s gonna roll out this year calling for 'respect,' respect! Not just for people, but for homosexual lifestyle. The PR campaign to hold up gay as a good thing: the lifestyle, not the person, because there are no such humans.

During the 1980's, I worked as a cook and busboy at a gay bar in Philadelphia. Now I guess I have to wonder what I was "really" doing those two years.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today's Supposedly Big Dick Cheney Revelation

Dick Cheney's been saying that his soon-to-be-published memoir is going to make "heads explode."

Dick Cheney is already promising there will be “heads exploding all over Washington” when his new book hits stores Tuesday. The 46th vice president made that declaration in an interview with NBC -- portions of which were aired on the Today Show Wednesday morning -- as he embarked on a media blitz to promote the book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.”

I'm not sure why though. The big revelation being leaked today is that Cheney advocated the bombing of Syria. I wouldn't have been surprised if Cheney had wanted to bomb Paris and Bonn . . . or LA and New York for that matter. The fact that he wanted to bomb Syria is hardly news.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Libya: Obama Handled It Right

Libyan Revolutionaries have taken over large areas of Tripoli and are reported to have captured two of Qaddafi's sons. They deserve a great deal of credit for founding a new nation on the wreckage of the dictatorship.

Also deserving credit is Barack Obama. Much as the killing of bin Laden was a validation of Obama's Afghanistan policy, the triumph of the Libyan Revolution has validated Obama's approach to the Arab spring in general and Libya in particular. Obama provided the Libyan movement with moral and military support. But the United States refused to invade Libya, overthrow Qaddafi, and win the revolution for the protesters. By limiting American support, the Obama administration forced the Libyans to win their revolution themselves and the positive effects frofm that will be felt for decades to come.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why Sarah Palin's Going to Run

Rachel Maddow caught a video in which husband Todd admitted that Sarah Palin quit her job as governor of Alaska so she could make money--thousands of dollars a day.

In my opinion, this is why Sarah Palin will ultimately run for president as well. Sarah Palin doesn't particularly want to run for president and I doubt that she wants to be president either. If Palin wanted to run and be president, she would have already jumped into the campaign. Still, Palin is constrained to run for president because she can't maintain her current standard of living unless she runs. Much as Newt Gingrich's little "American Solutions" empire depended on the "Newt for President" tease, Palin's much bigger empire of her Fox gig, television show, book deals, and speaking tours all depend on the idea that Palin could run for president as the chosen representative of right-wing America. It's not like Palin would dry up and blow away if she doesn't run, but her speaker's fees, ratings, advances on her books, and general marketability are all going to decline substantially if she doesn't answer the call of the popular white right and run for the presidency.

Todd Palin's comments are an indication that Team Palin has some sense of the connection between Sarah's income and her politics.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bring on Rick Perry

The Obama administration thinks that Mitt Romney is going to win the Republican nomination, but I bet they're hoping that the GOP chooses Rick Perry instead.

Obama surrogate Paul Begala is certainly chomping at the bit:

Does Michele Bachmann make conservative crowds swoon by saying the Lord told her to study tax law? Meh. Perry gathers 30,000 people to a controversial Christian
prayer rally. In Houston. In August. One veteran Texas politico told me, “The guy is Elmer Gantry. He could take over a conservative megachurch tomorrow and outpreach the pastor . . .

Perry told The Daily Beast's Andrew Romano that Social Security is “a Ponzi scheme,” and that both it and Medicare are unconstitutional. Never mind that the Supreme Court recently ruled that Social Security is perfectly constitutional . . .

Perry has already flirted with secession. Secession? Even Jefferson Davis opposed secession when he was a senator from Mississippi. When you’re more open to secession than Jefferson Davis was a century and a half ago, well, you've gone pretty far . . .
Begala is so pumped about running against Rick Perry that he was almost ready to run himself.

Candidates on the far right like Perry, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann are always claiming that Barack Obama or "the left" is afraid of them. But the opposite is the case. Rick Perry represents everything that is ignorant, bigoted, wrong-headed, and immoral about the conservative movement in this country. Begala's phrase for all of that is "bat shit crazy" and he's itching to oppose him.

So am I.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slouching Toward a Hee Haw Economy?

Now that the Stock Market has lost 500 points three times in the last two weeks, the economy is beginning to race a number of big questions.

Probably the most immediate question is whether the U. S. is going to move from the economic pessimism of the last two years to a long-term state of gloom and despair. One of my favorite songs from the 70's was the old Hee-Haw anthem "Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me:"

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me.

There's reason to think the panic might be temporary. The main reason that the panic might abate is that American companies are tremendously profitable and sitting on mountains of cash.

Corporate America has bounced back impressively. The quarterly results season that is now nearly over has revealed that profits are back within a whisker of the all-time highs achieved before the downturn in late 2008. By some calculations, the rate of recovery of profits from their trough is the strongest since the end of the Great Depression.

But if the whole country decides on gloom, we're going to have a Hee Haw economy.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

What is Fox News?

According to the impartial observers at Fox Business News, David Brock at Media Matters for America claimed earlier this year that Fox News is the "de facto head of the GOP." In fact, that was true in 2009-2010 when Fox fanned the flames of the Tea Party Movement and led the charge against Obama's health reform legislation. But I'm not so sure that Fox is still the only organizing force in the GOP at this point.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lady Gaga to Speak at Rick Perry's "Day of Prayer?"

Before Texas governor Rick Perry became this week's Great White Hope for the Republican presidential nomination, he organized a National Day of Prayer for this Saturday.

There are a lot of questions associated with the event. Should Perry be inviting gay-baiting hate groups like the American Family Association? That question can also be asked about flame-throwing religious figures like John Hagee of "the Holocaust was a good thing because it brings us closer to the Apocalypse" fame.

Likewise, wouldn't identifying with the religious right undermine Perry with independents and moderates if he won the GOP nomination? According to Alex Castellanos:

One thing Republicans are going to demand this election is a candidate who can beat Barack Obama . . . The election is all about him. A candidate who establishes his identity on the fringe, talking about social and religious issues, when the economy is going over a cliff, risks marginalizing himself, becoming unacceptable to independents and unelectable. That would be the kiss of death.

And Alex Castellanos knows extremism, having made his career by doing racist ads for Jesse Helms during Helms' last Senate campaign.

Another problem is that Perry booked 65,000 seat Reliant stadium but only has 8,000 reservations. As Bobby Jindal could tell him, epic fails are real buzz-killers.

But the biggest question hanging over Rick Perry's Day of Prayer is whether Lady Gaga is going to make an appearance.

It certainly seems like Perry is teasing a Gaga performance.

"There will be folks who think it's [politics], that there are other motivations. But it's not about me," Perry said. "It's about Him," the exact same divinity Lady Gaga references in "Born This Way."

"It doesn't matter if you love him/or capital H-I-M."

Perhaps Perry had an inspiration while singing along with Gaga's lyrics (what rising politician doesn't think "you're on the right track baby, you were born this way?) and decided to put out an invitation to the hottest singer on the planet.

Now THAT would be a sensational way to launch a presidential campaign.

Clever of Perry to keep it a secret so long.