Posted on 17-10-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The video below pretty much sums up the negotiating strategy of the Tea Party dominated Republican party.  Compromise has been redefined to capitulation of the other side.  A reasonable centrist proposal is met by shifting goal posts.  The establishment stenographers desperate to appear as if they are not taking sides have enabled this behavior.  Another example is when a Republican flibustered bill is presented as being “defeated” Senate, rather than being blocked by a nihilist minority.  Hat tip for the video to Andrew Sullivan.  Enjoy….

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Posted on 16-10-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

After two weeks of grandstanding, it ended with a whimper.  To the rising outrage of Americans not in thrall to the right-wing media bubble and the bewildered consternation of the rest of the world, tea party extremists shut down the government and threatened to blow up the world economy by triggering the first US debt default since the War of 1812 (not including a short technical default in the 1970s).

Their quixotic goal was an attempt to defund Obamacare – on the delusion that a recently re-elected President Obama and Democratic Senate would give up their biggest domestic policy win in the last 4 years.  After years of infuriating his base by being overeager to deal with Republican extremists, the President finally channeled his inner Michael Corleone (video below) and told the teabaggers to go jump in the Potomac.

The Democrats remained united in their opposition to repeated one sided Republican ransom notes that the weeping orange occupying the Speaker’s chair delivered at the behest of the extremist loons and their puppet handler – first term Senator Ted Cruz.  The last few days the oligarchs who fund these nuts looked on in alarm as tea party nutjobs engaged in default denialism – that a default would not harm the economy.  Ted Cruz bloviated about the American people supporting his cause, even as opinion polls showed the Republican brand taking a beating and conservative hacks like Jennifer Rubin started questioning the worthiness of Republicans holding on to the House.

As usual sections of the establishment stenographers made fools of themselves by being unwilling to call a ransom a ransom. Michael Kinsley published possibly the stupidest thing written in the last two weeks (and there were many worthy contenders) by asking the President to surrender to terrorists.

Meanwhile, the tea party was horrified to discover that a shut down meant that national parks would shut down.  One buffoon congressman went on to berate a hapless (unpaid) park ranger about the World War II memorial being closed.  I had a Republican friend earnestly try to argue that not all Republicans were tea party whack jobs.  Yet these so called moderate/reasonable/intelligent Republicans (other than a handful like Rep. Peter King) saved their grumbling for the shadows as the tea party hijacked control of the House.  Two days ago it was clear that Speaker Boehner had lost control of his caucus and the adults in the Senate started a compromise.  A modified ransom note masquerading as a compromise from Senator Collins was shot down and Senators Reid and McConnell (who is facing a tea party extremist in a primary) worked out a deal.  Yesterday the brakes were hit again as Speaker Boehner wanted one last ransom note.  Yet his deranged caucus could not muster up the votes for even that.  Finally today the avoidable crisis ended.  At the cost of about 24 billion to the economy and a decline in job growth, the Republicans got what they deserved – NOTHING!.

The can has been kicked down the road where flim-flam man Paul Ryan will try to get his pixie dust budget through and Republicans are still dead set against any new revenues.  But one hopes that the Republican leadership and the cowardly moderates will not have the appetite for another struggle.

The irony in all this is that the Democrats had already conceded the point of funding the government at Republican levels.  A sane political party would treat that as a victory, particularly since the deficits have been declining dramatically.  But today’s Republican Party does not reside in our space-time continuum.

Here’s hoping the Republican Party goes the way of the Whigs so that the sane party of Lincoln can re-emerge.

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Posted on 18-08-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The right-wing was outraged a few years back when Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos penned a book referring to them as the American Taliban.  Since then the tea party seems commited to proving him right.  Reality does not intrude into their fantasies and the last few years their definition of compromise has been for the other side to accept their policies without any compromises on their part.  The result has been a legislative logjam and veteran Republicans (Bob Bennett, Dick Lugar etc.) who had the temerity to work with Democrats were primaried out of office.

Now to be fair and balanced, there are many on the left unhappy with the tendencies of certain centrist democrats.  The key difference has been a lot of the ire against the Max Baucuses and Blanche Lincolns was for sabotaging their own party prior to negotiating with Republicans as opposed to the concept of compromise.  In the tea party world any compromise or legislative deal making is a sin.

Witness the gem included in letter sent to Senator Lamar Alexander this week urging him to retire:

Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous. America faces serious challenges and needs policymakers who will defend conservative values, not work with those who are actively undermining those values.

How exactly do these nihilists expect any legislation to be passed without compromise and bi-partisanship when the Democrats control the Senate and the Presidency leaving the Republicans with only the House (and the Supreme Court)?  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Republican Party at present does not appear interested in governing.  The House Republicans made fools of themselves two weeks ago when they discovered that Paul Ryan’s budget fantasy left it to them to identify budget cuts – and there are cuts unpalatable to even Republicans (particularly when the Military-Industrial Complex is untouchable).  And now for the third time in as many years the tea party and conservative nut jobs are threatening a default on American debt if they don’t get what they want (the target right now is Obamacare – an originally conservative proposal that has somehow morphed into a socialistic attack on our freedoms).

The tendency of the establishment stenographers to lump both parties together and blame President Obama for not having a magic wand to overcome Republican obstruction has allowed the American Taliban to avoid the consequences of their irresponsibility.  This does not bode well for the fall.

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Posted on 28-10-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

It was inevitable that the Democrats would use the Curbstomper to club Rand Paul. Rand Paul did condemn the stomper, though he tried to blame activists on both sides for the problem.  Of course Paul was not personally responsible for this attack, and that will cause some Democrats to have the vapors and probably cause Fox News to howl in outrage.  Aware of the risk of a backlash, the ad will run only after 10 p.m.

The tea party movement has tapped into a violent undercurrent out there.  Sharron Angle once notoriously called for Second Amendment remedies if Harry Reid won (lately she seems to focus on spurious voter fraud claims) and on October 15 there was another attack on someone for having the temerity to protest Dino Rossi.

This is a brutal ad that seems targeted at independents scared off by the tea party.  With Rand Paul surging in the polls it is a Hail Mary pass.   We will know next week if this make the race closer or generates a backlash.  Video below:

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Posted on 28-10-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The list of deficit peacocks preening their fraudulent fiscal conservative plumes keeps growing.  It is scary to think that a party so detached from reality will shortly be rewarded with a return to power.   Some more examples are noted below:

  • The original tea partier Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey when asked for specifics on spending cuts retreated to the standard Republican talking points which will do almost nothing to cut the deficit. Video clip is below:

  • Mike Lee the soon to be Republican Senator from Utah wants to slash federal spending by 40% while extending the Bush taxcuts and without cutting Social Security and defense.  Whatever he is smoking must be nice.  It has created a rosy tea party alternate reality.
  • Republicans are unveiling a bold plan to expand the deficit by replacing the Paygo rules currently in effect (requiring tax cuts and spending increases to be offset) with “Cutgo” (requiring only spending increases to be offset).  Even though the empirical evidence under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush indicates otherwise, Republicans continue to delude themselves that tax cuts do not diminish revenues.

It is going to be a long long two years in Republican Fantasia.

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Posted on 27-10-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Rachel Maddow visited Alaska on Tuesday and interviewed all three Senate candidates.  She also got some time to talk to some impassioned yet frighteningly clueless Joe Miller supporters.  Given the general ignorance about public affairs in this country you could probably make similar clips with leftist protesters.  However, since the tea party is taking to the streets to “take our country back” in this election cycle, I am picking on their inchoate rage:

The Black Panther case alluded to at the end of the clip involved a few losers who showed up at a largely black Philadelphia voting precinct on election day.  The Bush justice department concluded that it could not pursue a criminal case and pursued a civil case instead, which was later dismissed by the Obama DOJ.  Fox made it a story about an organized and serious attempt to intimidate white voters, even though no voters seem to have lodged a complaint.

As a bonus Maddow also snagged a brief interview with Joe Miller.  It is a rare opportunity to find a tea party candidate talking to someone outside of Fox “News.”  After Rand Paul’s stumble over the Civil Rights Act, it even rarer to see a tea partier brave Maddow.  While a soon to come post will slam Miller and other tea partiers on First Amendment issues, I will give him kudos for actually talking to a journalist not employed by the Republican Pravda.  Interview below:

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Posted on 22-10-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The tea party movement has been dogged by accusations of racism.  In the age of smartphones, racially charged (and sometimes outright racist) banners in the rallies to “take America back” do not help.  And then you get banners like the one below posted by a Daily Kos diarist.  Is this a jocular riposte at the charges of racism? Or, can people really be that obtuse?  You decide:

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Posted on 04-10-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

A couple of long takes on the roots of the tea party and the myths that animate the movement:

  • Matt Taibbi has his inimitable take based on his observances in Kentucky and other states.  There will be no mixed emotions about this.  You will either hate it or love it based on your political leanings.  I could not help chortling at this comment – “The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them.”  With the news seeping about about Rick Scott’s Medicaid fraud, Rand Paul’s back flips on receiving Medicare paymnts (covered in the article), Carl Paladino’s special tax breaks that went to his pocket instead of the intended purpose of job creation, Joe Miller seeking indigent status to get a hunting permit when he was not indigent and Sharron Angle who favors private health care but receives her own coverage through the federal government, that hit a chord.
  • Kevin Drum has his take on how the tea party regurgitates rhetoric like a dormant volcano that erupts when any Democratic president is elected, going back to FDR.  He does not agree with Taibbi’s take on the fears of browning America that seem to animate some of the rhetoric – though even Taibbi refers to the tea party members as narcissists rather than racists.

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