The Method To Steve King's Madness
"Sahil Kapur takes a look at how rank and file congressman Steve King (R-IA) came to call the shots on one of the most important issues of the modern era [immigration]."
The Republican Party began selling new web domains
ending in .gop today at www.join.gop
. Public interest has definitely been sparked, but perhaps not for the reasons Republicans have hoped. [more inside]
The Big Lobotomy: How Republicans Made Congress Stupid
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.
The Absolutist: [The New Yorker]
Jeffrey Toobin profiles the current state of Ted Cruz.
The Color Of His Presidency
A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!”
“I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them. [more inside]
Jesse A. Myerson described five economic reforms millenials should be fighting for in Rolling Stone.
Conservatives were generally aghast at the suggestions. Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog wrote a response, "Five conservative reforms millenials should be fighting for".
Liberals disapproved. Both articles argued for I. Employer of Last Resort II. Basic Income III. Land Value Tax IV. Sovereign Wealth Fund V. Public Bank. Ezra Klein discusses the trolling.
The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector.
Inside The Meltdown At America’s Most Conservative, Most Christian Political Consulting Firm
Rex Elsass built a Republican empire on his faith. But he found himself battling his closest allies over his immortal soul.
"Why Obama Is Giving Up on Right-Leaning Whites
: For decades, Democrats shaped their policies around fears of the culturally conservative white voters to the GOP. But Obama’s winning coalition has altered that calculus."
: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people"
"The Future Of The Republican Party Is By The Pool At The Biltmore
: The talk at the Miami hotel where Jeb Bush works, and Marco Rubio works out, is of the next president. But can the young senator get out from under Jeb’s shadow?"
"This is all out of Lord of the Flies and Karl Rove is Piggy and we’re supposed to all chase him around with spikes and throw him on a fire?"
An assortment of popular conservative pundits are trapped on a luxury cruise with well-heeled members of their audience, right after losing the election. One question hangs in the air: who is responsible for this loss?! Hilarity ensues.
During his tenure as George W. Bush's campaign manager and later as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Ken Mehlman helped push an anti-gay agenda which eventually led to legislation that banned same-sex marriage in 21 states
. He came out of the closet
in 2010. Since then, he's openly supported gay marriage
. Now, his newest endeavor, Project Right Side
, is trying to attract conservatives to the fight for marriage equality. He discusses the non-profit's goals in a WSJ editorial: Making the Same-Sex Case
. [more inside]
Pity the Billionaire
(YT): Thomas Frank
discusses how the American right pulled off a massive coup and successfully branded itself the party of rebellion and protest in the wake of the financial crisis.
According to Adorno, in psychoanalysis only the exaggerations are true.
If you wished to characterize the Democrats and the Republicans in terms of true exaggerations, you might say that the Republicans have become the Party of Psychosis while the Democrats have become the Party of Neurosis. The Republicans are psychotic because they have lost contact with reality, and orient their behavior not toward realities but toward fantasies. The Democrats are neurotic because they are aim-inhibited, as an old-fashioned shrink might say: their anxieties, hang-ups, and insecurities mean that they can’t attain satisfaction, since in a basic way they won’t even allow themselves to know what they want.
No more "Hunger Games" in our District! [autoplaying music]
Running for State Senate in Brooklyn on the Republican and Conservative tickets, Mindy Myers, 22 and an Orthodox Jew, is the self-proclaimed Diva of the District. In an interview with City and State
she says “I’m trying to attract a young crowd and recruit more young people," [...] "People in politics are out of touch with the younger generation, who are not voting, are not registered.” [more inside]
Kansas passes Tax Act meaning that business owners are not taxed at all on income derived from business profits.
"Who will still be paying Kansas income tax? Only three groups: 1) employees, 2) some retirees and 3) individuals whose investments are so modest that they cannot afford to create a trust or partnership to shelter their investment income." The $3.7bn pa cost of the tax cuts is said to create the risk of a $2.5bn pa deficit by 2018
A Million Wisconsinites Petition to Recall Scott Walker
: "Petitions with the names of 1 million Wisconsinites were submitted to state elections officials today, in a move that will jump-start the process of removing the nation’s most notorious antilabor governor from office... In all, close to 2 million signatures were submitted Tuesday, building the historic in-the-streets popular uprising that rocked Wisconsin in 2012 into a electoral uprising that has the potential to rock the politics not just of the state but of the nation in 2012. The movement to oust Walker will have secured the support of a higher percentage of eligible voters than has ever before sought to recall an American governor." [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.
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†:
"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]
Rep. Michelle Bachmann has won
the Ames Straw Poll
. Rep. Ron Paul came in a close second. This poll, though undemocratic
, has a fairly good predictive track record
. Since 1979, the winner or runner up has gone on to win the Iowa caucuses each time. [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
are declaring a winner in NY-26
as Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul
has a 6% lead (with 91% reporting)
over Republican Jane Corwin (previously)
in Tuesday's special election. [more inside]
"Isarithmic maps are essentially topographic or contour maps, wherein a third variable is represented in two dimensions by color, or by contour lines, indicating gradations. I had never seen such a map depicting political data — certainly not election returns, and thus sought to create them
Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of The Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope and Focus of its National Factions
is a new study that released today, just two weeks before the US midterm elections, by The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights
(IREHR). Sponsored by the NAACP, it reports that the Tea Party movement
is “permeated with concerns about race” and has “given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.” [more inside]
After winning six congressional elections since 1992, Representative Bob Inglis (R - SC) is now a politician without a party, a policy maven without a movement. And in a few months, he will be without his present job. The reason? "It's a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible...[Obama] is no socialist."
"Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder acknowledged an affair
with a staffer Tuesday and unexpectedly announced his resignation, giving Democrats a chance at capturing what many had thought was a safe Republican seat." He had previously recorded a pro-abstinence video, with the woman he had the affair with.
How Karl Rove
, a few corporate millionaires
, and the Citizens United
Supreme Court case will overwhelm American elections and rule the Republican party from the shadows: Rove Rides Again
Conservative Republican California State Assemblyman Michael Duvall
(Orange County) didn't realize his mic was live, moments before the start of a legislative hearing this past July. So when the 54-year-old married father of two began describing his ongoing affairs with two different women
in very graphic detail for the benefit of a colleague seated next to him, he had no idea that he was being recorded. The story was picked up by KCAL
, who cited unnamed sources that said Duvall was describing affairs with two married lobbyists
. [more inside]