The rise and fall (...and rise and fall) of Newt Gingrich. With just two days to go before the all-important South Carolina Republican primary, Newt Gingrich seems to have shaken off the spectre of past failures, is leading Mitt Romney in the most recent polls, and is on the verge of an amazing political comeback... assuming you overlook his ex-wife's new claims, set to air today, of Gingrich wanting -- and potentially having -- an open marriage.
What's one thing the major GOP candidates can all agree on? Why, the need to be hard on porn, of course. Morality in Media (MIM, previously) recently revealed that presidential hopefuls Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich had all affirmed the group's drive for "enforcement of obscenity laws". And the multi-billion-dollar per year industry? Adult Video News responds to the campaign (nsfw ads).
When Mitt Romney Came to Town (subtitle: The King of Bain) a 30 minute attack documentary whose "overriding sensibility is not Swift Boat — it's Frontline, replete with a calming voice of God narration and meticulous sourcing to SEC filings, court documents, and the Boston Globe" (Rolling Stone) provides an interesting moment in the future of political messaging and funding. [more inside]
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer? Don't worry -- his team is ready to do battle with evil.
Santorum surges from behind in Iowa. With the countdown to the Iowa Caucuses entering its final hours the GOP race remains in a dead heat. Polls show the unlikely campaigns of social conservative Senator Rick Santorum and libertarian leaning Representative Ron Paul in surprisingly strong positions to challenge Governor Mitt Romney for the opening victory in the Republican primary season. Both Paul and Santorum have focused heavily on traditional retail politics in the Hawkeye State.
Shockingly, Newt Gingrich does not own newtgingrich.com. Instead, a group of pranksters called American Bridge 21st Century have used the domain to redirect visitors to various sites and stories that cast him in a negative light. For maximum entertainment, copy and paste the URL into your address bar. Lather, rinse, repeat. [more inside]
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign. "More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011." This Salon piece details who the (surprisingly small) number of large donors are, and the SuperPACs they donate to.
An awkward moment in politics. (YouTube) While campaigning in a New Hampshire diner, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spotted local Bob Garon, a regular to the diner, eating his breakfast while wearing a Vietnam veteran's cap. “Vietnam veteran!” Romney greeted Bob, as he slid down onto the diner seat for a little chat. Unfortunately for Mitt, Bob was dining there that morning with his husband, and had to explain to Bob that his husband didn't deserve any of the benefits he fought for, and that the makers of the Constitution held marriage to be between a man and a woman. (Which doesn't really explain Mitt's great-grandfather Miles and his wives Hanna, Caroline, Catherine, Alice, and Emily, but stilll...)
Is Newt really going to be the nominee? As Romney collapses and Newt surges in the polls, the party establishment is worried. Libertarians are panicking. Can the establishment stop him? What about Ron Paul? Can Huntsman save the party from catastrophe?
Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT] Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
?uestlove is grounded. As the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots are known for providing guests of the show with impressive, personalized entrances. Last night, however, in an ill advised attempt at snark that has left some feelings hurt Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann entered the stage to the song "Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by Fishbone. [more inside]
David Frum asks When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?
In November 2002, at a meeting in the White House, the president and his top economic advisers packed tightly around a mahogany table in the Roosevelt Room. With the administration's own forecasts showing that the economy had already regained its footing, one after another of Bush's deputies sounded the alarm about the dangers of a new tax cut. "This burns a big hole in the budget," deputy chief of staff Josh Bolten told the president. "The budget hole is getting deeper," added Daniels, "and we are projecting deficits all the way to the end of your second term." O'Neill warned the president that a "tax cut that benefits mostly wealthy investors" could imperil the budding prosperity. "With the economy already improving, this could cause an unnecessary boost," he said. "That's how you get a bubble." Entertaining the chorus of doubters, Bush himself voiced qualms about more cuts for the rich. "Won't the top-rate people benefit the most?" he asked. "Didn't we already give them a break at the top?" But Cheney was having none of it. When O'Neill warned Bush that America was headed for a "fiscal crisis," the vice president, sitting at the Treasury secretary's right elbow, dismissed him midsentence by citing the ultimate champion of Republican tax cuts: "Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don't matter, Paul." Rolling Stone's Tom Dickinson on how the GOP became the party of the rich.
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
In a widely discussed tweet last week, Jon Huntsman broke with the stated opinion of every other major Republican presidential candidate†:
@JonHuntsman "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."Is Huntsman's announcement a shrewd move to establish his campaign as "the only moderate" candidacy in the crowded G.O.P. field, or is it evidence of a man sticking by his principles and "having a little fun" in a primary he knows he cannot win? [more inside]
Congressional Republicans favor letting the payroll tax increase at year's end. Jeb Hensarling claims this is because "not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." However, his logic may be backward[s].
Boeing's new Dreamliner plant in South Carolina was found to be retaliation for union strikes by the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency (On Point radio show). That's prompted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to launch an all-out war on the NRLB according to Dahlia Lithwick. (Previously.)
After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
"Bachmann's entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying. She's not a liar in the traditional way of politicians, who tend to lie dully, usefully and (they hope) believably, often with the aim of courting competing demographics at the same time. That's not what Bachmann's thing is."- Michele Bachmann's Holy War - Matt Tabbi - Rolling Stone
Republican Leadership Conference hires an Obama impersonator. Hilarity does not ensue. [more inside]
In CA-36, Democrat Calls For Blanket Condemnation Of Stunning New Web Ad. Initially, businessman Craig Huey, a tea party Republican, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did the Los Angeles County GOP. Eventually, Huey's campaign manager stated, "If I could wave a magic wand and take it down, I would. The video was created by Turn Right USA PAC.
Mahalo! What A Week: US President Barack Obama at the recent White House Correspondence Dinner (SLYTP - 19 Min)
Children in foster care in Michigan get an allowance for clothing. Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell wants to limit their clothing purchases to thrift stores only.
A released FAA investigation describes how in October last year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) deliberately landed his plane on a closed runway, and then caused the plane to "hop" over terrified construction workers and their vehicles. More recently, Senator Inhofe has taken to the Senate floor in praise of his friend (and friend of C Street), deposed Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo. [Previously, previously]
Will there be a government shutdown? Everything seems to hang on GOP riders. But it affects more than the federal employees and contractors. For example, National Parks will close. And so will DC services. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton tells Congress off, while DC residents wonder what are we going do with all our trash?
House Rep Christopher Lee (R-NY) has suddenly announced his resignation after it broke that the married congressman had been trolling Craigslist for hookups, as well as sending out topless pictures of himself, all while using his real name.
"House Republicans...fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party's tea-party bloc." This vote also defies the intention of the Obama administration to extend portions of the USA PATRIOT Act to the year 2013. (Previously) [more inside]
Tea party in the Sonora: For the future of G.O.P. governance, look to Arizona. An article by Ken Silverstein, from the July 2010 issue of Harpers.
California's ailing Republicans: A dying breed? 'Republicans are relishing the coming of a new day on Capitol Hill. But across the country in California, the party of Nixon and Reagan is drifting toward obscurity. The latest sign of imperiled health: In a year Republicans notched big victories in Congress, governor's offices and statehouses around the nation, California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight statewide contests on Nov. 2. Democrats padded their majority in the Legislature, where the party controls both chambers and no congressional seats changed parties. California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, even though the state population has since grown by about 10 million.''It's been said the future happens first in California, and the state hit a little-noticed milestone this month that will have implications in voting booths for years to come. For the first time, Hispanics account for more than half the students in the state's public schools. They will be tomorrow's voters.' [more inside]
Former president Jimmy Carter speaks about the similarities and differences between the political climate in the mid 1970's and the present rise of the Tea Party.
Phil Davison is a member of the city council in Minerva, OH. But what he'd really like to be is Stark County Treasurer. He'd really, really like that. [more inside]
Arizona Republicans accused of fielding phony Green candidates in this week's primary. Arizona Dems react. The Greens' response.
In an unusual about-face for such a public Conservative personality, Ann Coulter (the "Right-Wing Judy Garland") will be headlining an upcoming gathering of Gay Conservatives called HOMOCON 2010. Reaction on all sides of the aisle is mixed, to put it charitably. [more inside]
Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
Lately, the organizations that make up the American Republican Party/GOP have been experimenting with going online. The House Republicans have created America Speaking Out, a website for the people to give their ideas to "an arrogant congress." There, visitors can upload ideas they would like the government to carry out.
'GOP hopes to go from Party of No to Party of Choice.' 'Speaker after speaker at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference rallied the faithful with stinging denunciations of Obama and the Democratic majorities controlling the Senate and House of Representatives.' Palin. Gingrich. Ron Paul. Steele. And many more. 'They know how to say no to President Barack Obama. Now, can Republicans get the rest of the country to say yes to them?' 'Obama's approval ratings remain near or below 50 percent, a dangerous position for the party in power. Also, Americans may be souring on the Democratic brand little more than a year after electing a Democratic president and adding to the Democratic majorities in Congress. A new USA Today-Gallup Poll shows that just 41 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, the lowest in the nearly two decades Gallup's asked the question. By contrast, 42 percent had a favorable opinion of Republicans.' [more inside]
Republican Scott Brown has defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's former senate seat. [more inside]
RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been an interesting character in the Republican party. His attempts at rebranding the GOP and their online presence has been mocked on the Blue and the web at large. He now has a new book out to his own party's surprise, and has made statements on the RNC's financial outlook and electoral future. Many conservatives are now looking down on Steele, which begs the question: Has Steele gone rogue?
GOP.AM was launched this week by these guys (worth the click for the rotating banner images) as a URL shortening service. Their stated aim is "Making long URL's more... Conservative". It didn't take long for the pranksters to arrive.
She is the Young Republican who "stung" ACORN. And he is her "pimp". Together they brought down ACORN. [more inside]
Is Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao the GOP future? That's what Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) thought - a year ago. Since then, Cao has jolted Washington, and the question arises: was Boehner right about Cao being the future of the GOP, or will the purifiers prevail. [more inside]
The conservative movement continues to suffer problems, within the Republican Party, without, and, well...
Unallotment. Minnesota, known for its colorful politics now adds today's announcement by Governor Pawlenty that he is using his executive power to unilaterally cut $2.7 billion dollars from the state budget. The list of impacted state projects includes heavy cuts to education, health and human services, and funds municipalities rely upon for their own local budgets. Lawsuits claiming Pawlenty is overreaching his executive power are likely. You are probably not from Minnesota, so why should you care? Well, in addition to bringing the 2008 Republican National Convention to the Twin Cities and co-chairing John McCain's presidential campaign, Governor Pawlenty recently announced he is not running for a third term - and it is widely speculated that he may become the 2012 presidential candidate for the "new" GOP.
Democrat's efforts to paint Rush Limbaugh as GOP leader pay off. Since Rush Limbaugh famously stated that he wanted Obama to fail, Democrats, led by President Obama, have been trying to paint him as the intellectual and spiritual head of the GOP. Eyeing his low 25% approval rating amongst independents, they have hoped to equate the Republicans with Limbaugh. [more inside]
It's morning in America again -- but for the thousands of committed gay couples who got married in California [warning: Dan Fogelberg music, sweet visuals], the long nightmare of intolerance and hate is not yet over with the probable victory of Proposition 8. Supported by the anti-equality stances of Sarah Palin and "divinely" inspired others, and paid for by members of the Mormon Church and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, many of the ads for Prop. 8 featured the faces of Obama and Joe Biden, who declared their opposition to the initiative but refused to support equal marriage rights for all, preferring to talk about "civil unions." Even excellent Democratic-leaning politics sites like Talking Points Memo were saturated with the deceptive ads, which overwhelmed those comparing the proposition to other forms of discrimination in California's history.
This f*cking election. A babble tower.
Palin for 2012? She's popular with conservatives, and even before any potential makeover 6 out of 10 evangelicals think she is experienced enough to be president. She'd potentially get the Huckabee evangelical vote in the primaries *and* the talk radio wing. If Obama succeeds in taking moderates, the evangelical and talk radio wings will only be stronger. And the GOP would appear to already be talking about it.