If Democrats Want To Win Midterms, They Need Candidates Who Are … DEMOCRATS

140226-F-XH297-660As I sit here somewhat (but not really) surprised that the Associated Press has projected Nikki Haley will win a second term in the South Carolina governor’s office, I’m starting to feel my blood boil just a little.  Let’s see … between the

* Department of Revenue identity faux pas, exposing the identities MILLIONS of South Carolinians to fraud

* poor handling of child abuse (and death!!!) and neglect under state DSS supervision

* essentially TREASONOUS refusal to recognize a federal court ruling trumping the state’s constitution with something called the “U.S. Constitution..”

* FALSE and inflated promise of jobs (Amazon.com, Startek are a couple that come to mind) DESPITE Haley and the state giving them a TON in tax breaks that the state’s coffers will now never see and will likely benefit far less than anticipated because of those “job creators’ ” falling sort of promise …

* Haley’s “pay for play” campaign donation scandal benefiting a governor who ran on a “political reform” platform, no less…

* Her governing over a state with one of the highest percentage of uninsured citizens, yet she refused to accept FREE Medicaid expansion dollars (that are just going to other states now)

You’ll have to explain her re-election to me, ’cause a paper bag puppet should’ve blown the doors off of her.  Actually, this result isn’t as surprising as I make it out to be, for two glaring reasons:

1. She had an (R) by her name and that’s “enough” for far too many pre-programmed Southerners.

2. Sheheen ran more like a Republican than the independent Republican (Tom Irvin) did, and that likely failed to electrify enough of the base to make him a serious challenger, particularly without a Presidential race also on the ticket.  He had his chance, but passed on marriage equality.  Do the math: if 10% of the state’s 4.6 million residents are gay, that’s 460,000 South Carolinians who, you’d think would have just cause to rally to his support.  If only half of them are registered voters and half of THEM showed up, that’s over 115,000 votes; likely more than enough to carry Sheheen to victory.

The bottom line is this: Haley wasn’t even popular with REPUBLICANS in this state, and yet Vincent Sheheen couldn’t take advantage of that.  And I’m sorry, but he has no one to blame but himself for that shortcoming.

The same story is unfolding all across the country … in Kentucky, Mitch McConnell has to PAY people to be his friends at rallies, and yet he’s re-elected to the U.S. freaking Senate!!!  He’s one of the 101 most powerful people in the NATION, and he has to pay people to show up to his rallies.  Let that sink in.  A Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, frankly BLEW it when she couldn’t show she had the stones to say “yes, I voted for Barack Obama, the leader of my party, when he ran for re-election in 2012.”  Why’s that a condemnation?  And who does she think she’s fooling by not divulging that near-certain fact?

Why would a “staunch” Democrat in Kentucky WANT to vote for her?  I mean, OTHER than “she’s not Mitch McConnell.”  News flash: Democrat voters ARE proud to BE Democrats, and tend to back folks who ARE unabashed Democrats, too.  Wooing the “Clinton Republican” that hardly exists?  Foolish.  And costly, as we’re learning tonight.

If you’re gonna run as a Democrat, and barrage Democrats’ inboxes with pleas for money, and seek Democratic party support and campaign funding …

… BE a freaking Democrat.  Or find or create a party that best suits what you are: an opportunist looking for a spotlight and a title.

The President’s Weekly Address

ObamaIn his weekly radio/web address to the nation, President Barack Obama revisited the budget sequestration nonsense.

Our top priority as a nation must be growing the economy, creating good jobs, and rebuilding opportunity for the middle class.

But two months ago, Congress allowed a series of automatic budget cuts to fall across the federal government that would do the opposite. In Washington-speak, these cuts were called the “sequester.” It was a bad idea then. And as the country saw this week, it’s a bad idea now.

He noted that Congress showed signs of being responsible by rescinding cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration, which was causing hours-long delays in airports throughout the country, but also was quick to mention that their inclination to act may have been selfish in nature…

And, maybe because they fly home each weekend, the Members of Congress who insisted these cuts take hold finally realized that they actually apply to them too.

Obama also took a few digs at his opposition in Congress:

Republicans claimed victory when the sequester first took effect, and now they’ve decided it was a bad idea all along. Well, first, they should look at their own budget. If the cuts they propose were applied across the board, the FAA would suffer cuts three times deeper.

He followed with a call for action from Congress to act with a sense of urgency.  Which is hard to fathom those in Congress to do since they don’t feel the effects of the remaining sequestration cuts.

They may not feel the pain felt by kids kicked off Head Start, or the 750,000 Americans projected to lose their jobs because of these cuts, or the long-term unemployed who will be further hurt by them. But that pain is real.

The full transcript is here.

Frank Luntz, Who Taught Right-Wing Radio How To Say Things, Says Right-Wing Radio Is “Problematic”

LuntzOh THIS is rich!  Republican pollster extraordinaire, Frank Luntz, confided to a University of Pennsylvania gathering of young Republicans, that right-wing talk radio is “problematic” for the future of the G.O.P.  This according to Mother Jones.

Now, in fairness, he did ask around the room if anyone was recording the talk, and asked them to stop momentarily, to answer a question, but only off the record.  Well one student – who wasn’t recording the gathering – grabbed his iPhone and began recording, snagged the “in confidence” reply when Luntz was asked about political polarization.  He said he had something important to say, but was nervous to speak openly because, he implied he’d be in hot water for doing so.  Some attending college Republicans called out for him to speak “off the record.”

When Luntz surveyed the room to see who was recording, only Eric Kaplan, a reporter from the Daily Pennsylvanian college paper was; Kaplan complied with Luntz and those who wanted him to speak off the record and stopped recording.  That’s when Aakash Abbi, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics, and economics, grabbed his iPhone and caught this…

“And they get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it’s really problematic. And this is not on the Democratic side. It’s only on the Republican side…[inaudible]. [Democrats have] got every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what’s driving it. If you take—Marco Rubio’s getting his ass kicked. Who’s my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He’s getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He’s trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn’t the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That’s what’s causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy.”

He went onto say it “had been irresponsible (and bad for the GOP) for right-wing talkers to pontificate about women’s bodies and birth control—an obvious reference to Limbaugh’s attacks last year on Sandra Fluke, a law student invited to testify before Congress on health insurance coverage of contraception,” according to the report from Mother Jones.

This is all true, obviously, but two things pop up, here; 1. why is everyone on the right so damned scared to speak ON THE RECORD about Rush Limbaugh?  And 2. Is this the SAME Frank Luntz that’s been a part of talk radio culture for so many years?

This is the same Frank Luntz who nuanced language to right-wing talk listeners so that they were to believe that a bill outlawing migrant labor children to be employed on farms meant farm owners’ kids couldn’t work on their own farms.   He literally said, on Sean Hannity’s radio show, “Democrats made a farm bill banning children from working on family farms. Unbelievable.”  Unbelievable it was, because it wasn’t true.

This is the same Frank Luntz who taught talk radio how to mispronounce Sonia Sotomayor’s name.  “Ethnic” it up a bit, I suppose.   Frank is the same Luntz who cooked up term “Government Motors” after the Obama-initiated General Motors bailout; he helped coin the narrative about the Affordable Care Act meaning a government takeover of one-third of the U.S. economy.

But when nobody’s recording the REAL Frank Luntz, Frank Luntz confides that the very megaphone he’s liked using like puppets on his magical strings is “problematic.”

Guys like Frank Luntz, Karl Rove … cut from the same cloth, and they’re “problematic,” at best.  Using nuance and language twists and tricks to form a narrative that apparently cannot stand on it’s own.  “Problematic” indeed …

NOTE: Frank Luntz isn’t happy that his “off the record” comments left that room, either; in fact, he’s playing “sore loser,” and taking his ball and going home.  He’s withdrawn funding from a scholarship at the university in his father’s name after the flap.  From Mother Jones…

“While Luntz is scheduled to speak on a panel at the University during graduation weekend, he said that he would never return to speak after this incident, and would discourage others from speaking here.

“I can’t imagine a speaker coming to Penn and being so open. I can’t imagine a speaker coming to Penn and being so candid,” he said. “Frankly, I think it’ll have a chilling effect on whether speakers do or don’t come. I wish it didn’t.”

He also added that he would not renew a scholarship in his father’s name for students to travel to Washington, D.C.”

So he’s punishing the school and not himself for being candid.

F.A.A. Spared Sequestration Cuts; Head Start, Meals on Wheels? Not So Much

FAA-SequesterThose pesky flight delays were starting to rankle air travelers (read: people who can afford to fly anywhere to get anywhere) so much that Congress just had to act; and act, they did, drafting and passing legislation that will now spare the Federal Aviation Administration from sequestration budget cuts.  The White House has confirmed that they’ll sign the bill, too, giving the FAA it’s full funding back, for the remainder of 2013.  The final tally of votes was a lopsided 361-41.

Did I mention Congress did this shortly before flying out of D.C. on a recess vacation?  Ironic-much?

So the jet-set complained and Congress listened.  To the surprise of nobody.  I mean, when DOESN’T Congress do what the wealthier among us want, right?

That begs the question, though; would such a lopsided vote have occurred if feeding shut-in seniors (Meals on Wheels) came up?  Or how about early childhood education (Head Start)?  What about cancer treatment and research?  Oh wait, with that poisonous Monsanto rider attached to a continuing government funding resolution, then passed and signed into law, genetically modified (and cancer-causing) organisms in our food supply shouldn’t be funded against!  Besides, those are all progressive “wish list” items.

Now, how long before Pentagon sequestration cuts (aka “the next hostage”) are freed from this (ahem) “death grip” of austerity?

Think it won’t happen?  Watch.

Imagine This: Fox News Panel Bemoans Pundits Taking Shots At Bush

judith_millerAnyone remember who Judith Miller is?  Judith was fired from the New York Times after being the central figure in the disclosing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.  The audacious Fox News pundit who, somehow in her skirt, had the dangling kiwis to speak against alleged Obama administration leaks last August.  Jon Stewart summed up it up thusly.

Suffice to say, who better to speak out on White House leaks than someone fired for her involvement in White House leaks?

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Miller, along with Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review (I suppose no liberal pundits were available for a panel on Fox News… again) took aim at MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Comedy Central’s ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart.  From Mediate:

“…Lowry said that the media generally scorned Bush when he occupied the Oval Office and they display scorn for him now.

The phenomenon that Jon Stewart pointed out to is a real one,” Lowry said. “When we have the next Republican president, he will be scorned and hated by the media. And everyone will look back, ‘well, why can’t he be a compassionate conservative like that great statesman George W. Bush?’”

Fox News contributor Judith Miller slammed the media for suggesting that Bush’s bounce in public approval polls shows that the public just has a short memory. She said that the public is actually more discerning and has determined that the Bush presidency was more complex than it was made out to be by the press.”

Watch the clip in it’s entirety HERE.

Well, isn’t that touching; Lowry and Miller have come to the realization that the Bush presidency was really really “complex,” and thus, it’s unfair for pundits to pick apart a President.  And yet, that’s precisely what these two make a living at DOING – so long as it’s not a conservative President.  In which case, you (per Miller’s actions) help sell that President’s false-narrative.

Bill Maher: Marriage Equality Will Give Storyline for the ’42’ Movie(s) Years From Now

BillMaherHBO’s “Real Time” host, Bill Maher, blogged earlier this week, and put to words what many pro-gay rights advocates have been hinting around at for years: history will be very unkind to bigotry.  In the piece, he points out favorable polling numbers from both an ABC/Washington Post poll and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, but also mentioned that roughly two-thirds of Republicans are still anti-equality in the NBC poll.

“It made me think about that new Jackie Robinson movie, “42.,” he wrote.  It was the #1 movie in America last week and received a seldom-seen A+ CinemaScore from audiences. And I think I know why:  Because nothing feels better than feeling morally superior to people in the past who are obviously wrong. In this case, racists. You get to congratulate yourself in hindsight. Of course you know baseball should be integrated. You’d never shout mean things at Jackie Robinson in 1947.”

Then he pivots to marriage equality:  “Seventy years from now, they’re going to be making self-congratulatory movies about marriage equality, so we can hiss at the hateful idiots who were laughably wrong about that, too.  I wonder how many of those 66% of Republicans went to see “42” and didn’t make the connection at all.”

New Mexico GOP Official Tabs 19-Year Old Labor Activist a ‘Radical Bitch’

kushWhen your party just lost millennials in the most recent Presidential election by 23 percentage points and women by 12, and is doing studies … writing post-Morten “autopsies” that tell your party’s elite that it’s time to start speaking to young people, women and people of color and addressing them respectfully instead of alienating them, it’s probably in the best interest OF your party that nobody IN your party calls a young adult female a “radical bitch” in a public forum.

If there were such a memo within the G.O.P., Steve Kush, the executive director of the Bernalillo County, New Mexico Republican Party, didn’t get it.

From the Huffington Post: Kush called a 19-year-old Working America volunteer a “radical bitch” on Twitter Tuesday night after she testified before the county commission in favor of raising the minimum wage.

“Nice hat Working America chick but damn you are a radical bitch,” Kush tweeted.

Working America, a labor movement advocacy group, sent several members to the county meeting on Tuesday to advocate for a measure that would increase the county’s minimum wage. As the organization’s state director, Chelsey Evans, stood in line to testify on the proposal, Kush disparaged her on his Facebook page.

“Uh oh,” he wrote, “another Working America chick…nice boots…I know she makes more than min wage.” He later added in the comments, “she was hot enough to almost make me register democrat.”

ProgressNow New Mexico says Kush should step down.  “In a state run by one of the country’s most high-profile Republican women, the party’s leaders appear to see nothing wrong with misogynistic statements towards working women time and time again.  Kush should resign.”  That from PNNM’s spokesperson Marsha Garcia.  Executive director Pat Davis piles on: “If the Republican Party wants to know why they have such a hard time connecting with young women, they should start by examining the very public way their leaders feel about young working women.”

kusha2To make matters more misogynist, the county’s former GOP executive director, Bob Cornelius went a little further on Kush’s Facebook thread (left) about Chelsey Evans, insinuating Evans may be a prostitute.  Cornelius eventually deleted his post and apologized to Evans; no such luck from Kush, as of yet.