The Clueless Contest

It’s hard to say who is more clueless, the NRA wanting to solve our gun problem by bringing guns into our schools or the Tea Party congresspeople refusing to raise taxes even on those making $1 million or more a year.

Don’t they have any idea how  bizarre and alien they look to most of the country, how out-of-step they are?

Armey Leaving FreedomWorks — Mystery Solved

The mystery of why former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas resigned as CEO of the Koch Brothers’ funded Tea Party group Freedom Works has been resolved.

He left over an ethics dispute with the group’s president, Matt Kibbe.  If you’ve ever seen Kibbe on TV, the guy just looks sleazy, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

From Politico*:

“Armey was concerned that Kibbe structured the deal to personally profit from the book, despite relying on FreedomWorks staff and resources to research, help write and promote it….

“So Armey declined to sign a memorandum presented to him…stating that the book was written without significant FreedomWorks resources and clearing the way for Kibbe to personally own the rights to the book and any royalties from it….

“‘I wrote this book and it is my property,’ [Kibbe] said, saying he wrote the 416-page book entirely ‘on my Christmas vacation’ last year. [416 pages over Christmas?  Were there elves involved?]

“But multiple sources who worked with FreedomWorks and had knowledge of the situation said that several staffers were asked to help research and write the book as part of their work duties.  The sources contend that FreedomWorks staff time and resources spent promoting the book detracted from the organization’s ability to mobilize conservative activists ahead of the election — one of its core focuses.”

All you people sending your hard-earned $25 or $50 to these Tea Party groups, thinking you’re fighting the Kenyan Muslim Socialist, I hope you realize that you’re just making creeps like Kibbe rich, and of course protecting the Koch Brothers’ billions.  Not a good use of your money.

* “Dick Armey, FreedomWorks president clashed over book deal,” Kenneth P. Vogel

As Expected, They’re Not Getting It

I got this in an email from some Tea Party group:

“We’re disappointed in Governor Romney’s loss. But this goes to the heart of what we have been saying all along. Bob Dole didn’t win. John McCain didn’t win. And now Mitt Romney hasn’t won. The lesson the GOP and Americans need to learn is that weak-kneed Republicans do not get elected. Conservatives do.”

“The Tea Party has not yet begun to fight. It’s time for a wholesale reassessment of the D.C. establishment politicians and party grandees who have no commitment or courage to reduce the size of government. We now have another four years ahead of us with Barack Obama leading the charge against liberty.”

They’ll blame Mitt and Sandy and Christie, they’ll blame the media, they’ll do everything but look in the mirror.  It’s not about weak knees, it’s about addled brains.

Fine with me, move even farther to the right, you nut jobs, and keep losing.

Better Too Liberal Than Too Crazy

The latest Missouri Senate poll shows Claire McCaskill ahead of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, 46 to 40%.

His favorables/unfavorables, 31/57, are terrible, but hers aren’t great either, 44/51.

Clearly a less insane Republican would have won Missouri as the GOP planned, but voters would rather elect someone they consider too liberal than someone they consider too crazy.

Todd Akin is another case of the Sharon Angle/Christine O’Donnell Tea Party stupidity that cost them the Senate in 2010.

The Unbearable Dumbness of Douthat and Brooks

How dumb are Ross Douthat and David Brooks?  So dumb that they think Mitt is breaking free from the Tea Party/right wing crazies in his party, rather than simply pretending to do so with their blessing.  Mitt isn’t just Pinocchio-like because of his lies, he’s also a puppet whose strings are being pulled by the GOP.  Douthat and Brooks incredibly believe that Mitt is now pulling the strings of his party and moving himself back to the center.  These two geniuses have it all backwards as to who’s controlling whom, plus they’re buying that Moderate Mitt is the Real Romney.

Here’s Ross Douthat, “It Could Be His Party,” NYT:

“What Romney executed on Wednesday night was not just a simple pivot to the center, as much of the post-debate analysis suggested.

“But this wasn’t some sort of Sister Souljah moment, where Romney called out his fellow conservatives in order to curry favor with the center.  Rather what he did was clarify, elevate and translate.

I guess clarify, elevate and translate are new euphemisms for lie.  Sounds very Luntzian.

“One debate does not such a leader make.  but at the very least, the fact that Romney’s strategy worked so effectively last Wednesday — that it made him seem mainstream and appealing while also winning him plaudits from almost every sort of conservative — suggests that the Republican Party can actually be led, and that its politicians don’t have be prisoners of talking points and groupthink.”

No, no, no, this first debate wasn’t Mitt leading the GOP, it was the GOP, out of desperation at his poll numbers and the fallout from the 47% remarks, allowing Mitt to seem rational and reasonable.  Mitt is the dressage horse here, not the rider, he “pivots” when that’s what his owners want.

Here’s David Brooks, “Moderate Mitt Returns!,” NYT:

“But, on Wednesday night, Romney finally emerged from the fog.  He broke with the stereotypes of his party and, at long last, began the process of offering a more authentic version of himself.

“Most important, Romney did something no other mainstream Republican has had the guts to do.  Either out of conviction or political desperation, he broke with Tea Party orthodoxy and began to redefine the Republican identity.  And having taken this step, he’s broken the spell.  Conservatives loved it!  They loved that it was effective, and it was effective because Romney could more authentically be the man who (I think) he truly is.”

Mitt didn’t break any spell, and conservatives loved it because they sanctioned it as a way to move the poll numbers before the election.  This has nothing to do with moving policy afterwards.  Mr. Brooks, do the words “The ends justify the means” sound at all familiar to you?  Mitt wasn’t breaking from the Tea Party, just from the truth.

Anybody out there trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge?  You really should call Douthat and Brooks. 

 

 

 

Mitt’s Pass from the Base

I guess that because Mitt had failed to move to the center as expected, we thought it was never going to happen, and it was such a shock when it finally did at the first debate.  Typically, it happens slowly and gingerly, an issue at a time, so it’s jolting to hear it come in one uninterrupted, 90-minute whoosh.

We expected the pivot after he clinched the nomination, we expected it after his convention.  Each time he tried, as in saying positive things about Romneycare, the base came down hard on him and he had to scurry back.  Because they don’t trust him, it seemed as if he would spend the entire campaign playing to them, as if the primaries were still going on, and never make that general election pivot to the middle.

The pre-debate polls are why we’re not hearing a peep out of the base now.  They finally got it that if they didn’t cut Mitt some slack, he would lose.  So he got his pass from the crazies to unveil his Moderate Mitt routine at the debate, really the last possible moment, and lie his ass off.    The base saw the Ryan pick come and go, they saw the convention come and go, and all that was left were the debates.

But everyone needs to remember that it’s just a pass between now and November 6.  He can sound as reasonable and moderate as he wants for the next month, but he’ll have to govern hard right.

Whatever Mitt’s own preferences, he’ll govern out of pure fear — fear of a primary challenge from his right in 2016.  The post-2010, Tea Party GOP owns him.

 

 

You Ask the Wrong Question, You Get the Wrong Answer

From Paul Krugman* today:  “By the way, in saying that our prolonged slump was predictable, I’m  not saying that it was necessary.  We could and should have greatly reduced the pain by combining aggressive fiscal and monetary policies with effective relief for highly indebted homeowners:  the fact that we didn’t reflects a combination of timidity on the part of both the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve, and scorched-earth opposition on the part of the G. O. P.”

This brings us back to Rick Santelli on February 21, 2009, when he famously asked, “Do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages?  This is America!  How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

The answer to that was a resounding “Hell, no!” and the start of the Tea Party,  but Santelli asked the wrong question.  He should have asked “How many of you people want to lose 30, 40, 50% of the value of your homes?  How many of you people want to lose your jobs because of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression?  How many of you people want to then lose your homes because, just like your neighbor now, you won’t be able to pay your bills?”

The truth is that because we got so obsessed with “moral hazard,” so determined not to coddle those damn “losers,” we all became losers.  If we’d loved our neighbor a little more, we would have all been better off.  Instead of lifting them up, we dragged ourselves down.

With all our politicians who constantly quote the Bible at us, where was Mike Huckabee or Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum reminding the self-righteously righteous that the rain falls equally on the good and the bad?

* “The Optimism Cure,” NYT