republicans Archive

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The Republican Presidential Debate Will Not Be Televised: UPDATED

I couldn’t liveblog last night’s debate because I couldn’t find a stream and I don’t have Teh Cable. Oh, I suppose that if I’d looked harder I’d have been able to, but considering that I pretty much want to gouge my eyes out, light my hair on fire, and release a bag of feral tarantulas onto my scrotum when I’m watching these things, it was probably for the best.

Anyway, here’s what I missed. Apparently, Rick Perry can count to two, but not three.

Fucking talking points, how do they work?

(via everyone in the blogosphere)

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UPDATE BY TREVOR: Predictably, Perry is spinning “Oops I Did it Again-Gate” as confirmation of his regular-guy bonafides, with his pungent brainfart merely proving that he’s not “the slickest politician” in the oil field. But I think this latest gaffe is finally going to make on-the-fence Republican voters remember how important a role optics play in the presidency. George W. Bush may have been even flubbier of tongue than Perry, but I submit that a large reason he won in 2000 (ahem) and then again in 2004 (no ahem this time) is because Gore and Kerry were devastatingly — and more or less accurately — portrayed as stiff, robotic humanoids in the presence of Bush’s folksy penchant for homespun plain-speakery. Now we have another straight-talkin’ (when he can get the words out) Texan behind the podium, but this time his would-be opposition is someone whose oratorical skills more or less netted him a Nobel prize in the absence of any other concrete accomplishments (at the time of the award, anyway). In a wide-ranging, one-on-one debate, President Obama, esq., is going Clarence Darrow Perry’s William Jennings Bryan-channeling ass down a logical rabbit hole (monkey barrel?) that he won’t be able to dig his way out of no matter how many capitally punished bodies he stands on.

It’s weird. Republicans are usually so good at realizing how important perception is — hello Frank Luntz! — that it’s amazing that Perry’s poll numbers have held up even this well so far.

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Also, too, black helicopters and my tin foil hat!

This is why we’re all going to die.

Because people like these are granted more respect in our national discourse than people pointing out that, you know, Wall Street isn’t really looking out for the little guy.

Stolen from M. Bouffant.

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Wingnuts: “The Federal Reserve should stop worrying about the part of its mandate that promotes full employment, and should get back to the serious business of protecting rich people from imaginary inflation.”

No, I am not making my headline up.***

Also, while I was eating dinner Steve Jobs died?

Furthermore, and also while I was eating dinner, Sarah Palin has announced that she will not run for president, probably because it would be deeply embarrassing for all parties involved?

It’s a mad, mad world we live in.

***Clarification in comments

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Even The Weekly Standard was Horrified by Last Night’s Republican Presidential Debate

It truly was awful, and though I live tweeted for as long as I could bear to watch, eventually I simply had to bail. Booing a gay soldier? Yelping about “magnet” states for illegal immigrants undocumented workers? Word salads avec fromage from Bachmann and Perry? No, sir. No, thank you. I’ve had just about enough of that.

Christ, even Bill Kristol was horrified:

Reading the reactions of thoughtful commentators after the stage emptied, talking with conservative policy types and GOP political operatives later last evening and this morning, we know we’re not alone. Most won’t express publicly just how horrified—or at least how demoralized—they are. After all, they still want to beat Obama—as do we. And they want to get along with the possible nominee and the other candidates and their supporters. They don’t want to rock the boat too much. But maybe the GOP presidential boat needs rocking.

The e-mails flooding into our inbox during the evening were less guarded. Early on, we received this missive from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

Well, duh.

Or, as Instaputz (from whom I stole the link, btw) put it: “It obviously was his first GOP debate, because they’ve been sounding like crazy people for the past decade and a half.”

Amen. I honestly don’t know how one can be a “bright young conservative” and not have realized this already. The modern GOP is Bircherism writ large: xenophobic, homophobic, racist, sexist, nationalistic, imperial-minded, “Christian,” and dumb as a bag of bricks. Their policy preferences range from stupid to insane to Randian, and then back to stupid again, as “Randian” can pretty much always be replaced with “stupid.” It’s not a secret that this is so. It’s in the newspaper everyday. It’s on the teevee 24/7. It’s rampant in the blogosphere (where, perhaps, it finds its purest expression). If you watch the Republican party, listen to what its members say, and if you are honest with yourself, you must force yourself to conclude that these people are either a) crazy, b) stupid, or c) both. It’s really not that difficult.

I mean, take a look at this. This is the current Republican presidential front runner fielding a question about what he would do if a stray Pakistani nuclear weapon found its way into terrorists’ hands. This is his reply.

The FUCK you just say, Rick Perry? Just say, “Pakistan is an ally. India is an ally. Afghanistan is an ally. We’d all work together and stop that shit, America fuck yeah.” That’s all he had to say to appease his base. Instead, in an attempt to sound like he knows what he’s talking about, he proves that he doesn’t when he mixes up his talking points.

This, my friends, is the modern GOP. And the talking points they’re always mixing up are bad for the country.

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Barbarians Applaud Capital Punishment

At last night’s Republican presidential debate, Brian Williams mentioned that Texas has killed a bunch of people during Rick Perry’s tenure as governor, and the crowd went wild. Rick Perry then lied about the “thoughtfulness” of Texas’ justice system, and said he sleeps just fine at night despite executing at least one innocent person, and the crowd went wild again.

I don’t think Perry stands a chance in the general election, given the ranting lunacy that apparently makes up his literary output, but the fact that the Republican audience is openly cheering a man who actively impeded the exoneration of an innocent man, and that the man was subsequently killed in his state, is rather… troubling? Heinous? What’s with the “Yay, death penalty!” mentality? When did our right to kill people become a Republican cause celebre?

These people honestly want to take us back to the Dark Ages. Fuck them.

(via TPM)

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Modern Conservatism ≠ Reality

Obviously Time Magazine doesn’t need us pimping its content, but Fareed Zakaria’s article last week entitled “How Today’s Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality” is just so blindingly reasonable and, well, obvious, that I feel compelled to cite two large chunks of it here.

Conservative comrades: please, honestly, tell me where Zakaria has gone wrong. I’m willing to be convinced that his argument is perhaps oversimplified and/or under-supported, but the commonsense-ness of it all seems overwhelming to me.

For example:

Consider the debates over the economy. The Republican prescription is to cut taxes and slash government spending — then things will bounce back. Now, I would like to see lower rates in the context of tax simplification and reform, but what is the evidence that tax cuts are the best path to revive the U.S. economy? Taxes — federal and state combined — as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest level since 1950. The U.S. is among the lowest taxed of the big industrial economies. So the case that America is grinding to a halt because of high taxation is not based on facts but is simply a theoretical assertion. The rich countries that are in the best shape right now, with strong growth and low unemployment, are ones like Germany and Denmark, neither one characterized by low taxes.

And:

When considering health care, for example, Republicans confidently assert that their ideas will lower costs, when we simply do not have much evidence for this. What we do know is that of the world’s richest countries, the U.S. has by far the greatest involvement of free markets and the private sector in health care. It also consumes the largest share of GDP, with no significant gains in health on any measurable outcome. We need more market mechanisms to cut medical costs, but Republicans don’t bother to study existing health care systems anywhere else in the world.

Is it just me, or does American exceptionalism frequently degenerate into American contrarianism whenever it has the misfortune to be exposed to this halogen glare of logic?

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The Economy Remains, to Use a Technical Phrase, in the Shitter

Felix Salmon looks at the numbers for May. Long story short, unemployment bounced back up to 9.1%, we added a paltry 54,000 jobs last month, and a staggering 44% of the unemployed have been without work for six months or more. Let me hammer this point home, lest it gets lost in the chatter: THOSE NUMBERS ARE REALLY, REALLY AWFUL.

The only tiny possible chink of light here is that these numbers are so bad that they might persuade bickering politicians on Capitol Hill to stop playing stupid games with the debt ceiling and start concentrating on important matters. Oh, who am I kidding: we’re in election season now. Nothing is going to happen, in terms of remotely important legislation, until 2013, for risk that Obama might be able to take credit for it.

If the Republicans in control of the House gave something even remotely resembling a flying fuck about anything other than their own cynical political aspirations, they would try to do something about this. They don’t. Instead, we have political theatrics about the — gasp! — horrors of raising the debt ceiling, and phony calls for a “shared sacrifice” that very rich people, oddly, never seem to share. And the fact that the country is in a permanent state of electioneering doesn’t help things, either.

We are screwed, folks.

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Republicans make gay people kill themselves

What was that about statistics being useless without context, Ben?

Oh well, it’s not important. What is important is this U.S. News & World Report article that proves definitively that having too many Republicans around makes gay people kill themselves.

To quote:

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, but those who live in a supportive community are better off. They’re about 25 percent less likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts in politically conservative areas that lack school programs supporting gay rights, according to a study published today in Pediatrics.

Seems pretty straightforward to me. Explain this one away, Republicans (if that is your real political affiliation).

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Preemptive verbal strike: the new Republican rhetorical strategy

Since Obama’s inauguration, the Republicans have been honing a new rhetorical strategy, and it’s something I don’t think I have seen before in the political theater, (Disclaimer: I don’t have a poli sci or history degree so ‘cusez if my political history falls short.) seemingly flying in the face of the rhetorical strategies of old.

How did rhetoric used to work? As political criticism goes, for as long as I can remember, the mainstay has been oppositional differentiation, right? Political parties and politicians derive a large portion of their platform and identity from what they are not, what they’re against – think photo negatives. Liberty because not socialist, small because not big government, pro-life because not pro-choice, etc. I am this because I am not that.

Now contrast that with Fox News — its slogan “fair and balanced,” which insinuates that all non-Foxes are biased. Think Sarah Palin, especially some of her criticism of Obama. Notice how, when it gets specific, it tends to be equally — if not more — applicable to her. Think of her recent dissing of Obama’s inexperience. Or this gem, which Krugman pointed out in his column a couple days ago:

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