Category Archives: the GOP

>The GOP’s "Environmental Wish List" is Horrifying

>The following appeared over at the environmentally conscientious blog treehugger.com, it’s an eye-opener for anyone that believes the environment is important and think that the GOP will stand behind their cause:

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave — or perhaps a lavish, sealed-off compound — for the last few months, you’re likely fully aware that the GOP is in full-bore Tea Partying mode. Which means ultra-anti-regulatory sentiment and pro-corporate cheer-leading rule the day. Man, that was a lot of hyphens. Anyhow, Republicans have seized their moment in the sun to pursue a bill known as the 3-D Act (Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction). It’s essentially what the New York Times calls “the right’s environmental wish list” — a series of 12 initiatives that include gutting the Clean Air Act, opening up pristine lands for drilling, and trampling the Endangered Species Act.

Here’s the abridged “wish list” from the NY Times, and my response to each entry:

1. Put oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental shelf on a fast track, holding lease sales every nine months and making them dependent on commercial expressions of interest (rather than, say, ecosystem requirements) to determine what parcels should be leased. Ensure that a year after the bill becomes law, there will be three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia.

In other words, this would put oil interests first and make ecological considerations near-obsolete. It would also mean much more drilling in the Gulf and off the East Coast.

2. Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to an “environmentally sound program for the exploration, development and production of the oil and gas resources …”

Republicans have been after this for years, but there’s a reason they haven’t gotten it: Cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic, as we saw with the Exxon Valdez, is excruciatingly difficult — and spills therefore do immense damage to the native habitats and local economies.

3. Expedite lease sales for companies seeking to extract oil and natural gas from complex geologic formations like oil shale and tar sands in the West.

The GOP wants to bring the devastatingly destructive tar sands operation like the one in Alberta, Canada, to the United States. Remember, that operation produces what is considered the “dirtiest fuel on earth”.

4. Set a nine-month deadline for the environmental review of any federal action like such leasing.

Read: less talk, more drilling.

Continue read >>>> Here

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Filed under NY Times, the environment, the GOP, Treehugger.com

Michael Steele Spent RNC Money on Bottle Service at a Bondage Club

It amazes me how this guy still has a job, his creditability has to be close to zero. I bet those in the GOP can’t wait until his term as Chairman is over.

Posted at GAWKER.com

Michael Steele is just wasting RNC money on limos and private planes and, yes, private bondage-themed nightclubs with topless ladies.

Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Carlsoning has a wonderful story about how Michael Steele considered buying a private plane, because he spends so much time flying to nightclubs and Hawaii, but he decided not to. Instead he found many other creative ways to waste money.

Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

Now, Voyeur is not really a “strip club” so much as a terrible-sounding nightclub with bottle service, long lines, Lindsay Lohan, and, yes, half-naked ladies simulating oral sex on each other. Which, to be honest, sounds way stupider than a proper, respectable strip club. Shame on you, Michael Steele, for encouraging this kind of thing.

The GOP really has to get around to firing the embarrassing and inept Michael Steele eventually. Steele spent $1.4 million on the GOP’s terrible new website, he charges $15,000 for speaking appearances, and his RNC continues to spend more than it takes in as we begin the campaign season in earnest.

But it would still present a bit of an image problem to fire the one prominent black Republican in America.

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Filed under Gawker.com, nightclub, private planes, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, strip clubs, the GOP, wasted money

Brown tells AP he’ll sometimes side with Democrats

Interesting article, will Scott Brown be the GOP’s 41st vote against Obama or will he side with the liberal leaning people of Massachusetts and support many of the President’s priorities ?…Time will tell.

From the ASSOCIATED PRESS –

BOSTON — Scott Brown says he has already told Senate Republican leaders they won’t always be able to count on his vote. The man who staged an upset in last week’s Massachusetts Senate special election, in part by pledging to be the 41st GOP vote against President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that he staked his claim in early conversations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip Jon Kyl.

“I already told them, you know, `I got here with the help of a close group of friends and very little help from anyone down there, so there’ll be issues when I’ll be with you and there are issues when I won’t be with you,'” Brown said Thursday during the half-hour interview. “So, I just need to look at each vote and then make a proper analysis and then decide.”

Asked how McConnell and Kyl responded, Brown said, “They understood. They said, `You can probably do whatever you want, Scott. And, so, just let us know where your head’s at, and we’ll talk it through, and just keep us posted.'”

The senator-elect did not elaborate on possible breaking points, though the Washington newcomer dismissed any suggestion he will relent once he starts working in the highly partisan capital.

“That’s not pressure; pressure is what I’m going through right now,” said Brown. He cited his efforts to complete a transition in 2 1/2 weeks, compared with the normal 2 1/2 months for regularly elected senators, while preparing to surrender his responsibilities as a state senator, become a Beltway commuter and resume his triathlon training.

He started Thursday with a one-hour bike ride and 1,500-meter swim.

“I’m trying to do it very well and be balanced and still get my workouts in,” said Brown. “There’s nothing wrong with having good conversation and debating. We do it here in our own caucus, at a smaller level. … It’s just a different building, really.”

Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley to win the seat held for nearly a half-century by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The result rocked both the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, who viewed the seat as safe and Coakley as the pivotal 60th vote to preserve a Democratic supermajority in the Senate.

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under GOP Leaders, Massachusetts, President Obama, Scott Brown, the GOP

MEMO: Does America really want a GOP comeback?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov. 2, 2009

From: Nathan Daschle, Executive Director, Democratic Governors Association

Twenty-four years. That’s how long it’s been since the party in power won either the New Jersey or Virginia governorships. Even more striking – the last time the party in power won the Virginia governorship was 1973.

And after losing the White House, Congress and every targeted Governors race since 2007, national Republicans desperately need a victory. They’re eyeing – and hyping – these two governors’ races as the start of their comeback. In their favor: history, political conditions, record-breaking spending and a tough economic climate.

If Republicans can’t win both races with the wind at their backs, their top recruits on the ballot, multi-million dollar investments and history in their corner, that will tell us a lot about whether Americans really want a Republican comeback.

In fact, if today’s Republicans can’t win both of these races, they will be the first opposition party in a generation to break the 2-and-0 winning streak.

So the biggest question for observers of these races is not what these races mean for Democrats but what they tell us about the GOP.

We’ve known from the beginning of this year that Democrats had an uphill battle to victory. Not only is it a challenge to break a five-cycle winless streak, but Democrats are also defending two seats in the midst of the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Despite all those difficulties and with just days left until Election Day, Democrats are in a stronger than expected position to break the streak. In Virginia, the Democratic nominee remains within striking distance, with more than half a million newly registered Democrats on the table. After months of observers calling it a foregone conclusion that Republicans were bound to win New Jersey, the race is a dead heat.

Below is a briefsummary of DGA activities in 2009, as well as a collection of insights from GOP leaders about what winning Virginia and New Jersey means to their party.

In their own words

From the moment they lost the Presidential election, Republicans have been hyping the off-year governors’ races as the dawn of their comeback. They’ve poured record-breaking resources into both races, outspending national Democrats because they desperately need a victory to energize their base after years of losses.

Republicans have been trumpeting their prospects in Virginia and New Jersey for a year, with the GOP’s leaders making the case that these races will set the stage for a conservative revival. On the eve of Election Day, a few of their statements stand out:

“Governors are again key to our comeback.”

— Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, RGA Chairman
RGA Website

“The RGA is helping lead the conservative comeback beginning this year, and its involvement in the East Coast races is significant.”

– Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Facebook, Oct. 27, 2009

New Jersey “is a bellwether in so many ways for the future of our party.”

–Michael Steele, RNC Chairman
The Washington Times, 8/23/2009

We already are seeing the Republican resurgence in this country, but it is going to be affirmed and we are going to get great momentum from the victories we’re going to have in New Jersey and Virginia this fall.”

— Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, RGA Vice-Chairman
Politico, 8/16/2009

DGA 2009

The DGA began the year understanding the difficulty of the 2009 landscape and made strategic decisions to boost critical election infrastructure and challenge Republicans. While the DGA spent more in Virginia and New Jersey than ever before in the committee’s history, the Republican Governors Association still outspent the DGA nearly 2-to-1, spending $13 million.

New Jersey

The global economic downturn hurt New Jersey, but Gov. Jon Corzine is campaigning on his record as a leader who is willing to make the right decisions when it matters most. Gov. Corzine has expanded health care to 100,000 children, invested in new schools and trimmed the size of government.

His opponent, GOP darling Chris Christie, tried to run on an ethics platform but a laundry list of controversies unmasked him as a candidate who had one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else. Christie, a Bush Republican who embraces the failed economic policies of the past, refused to release any specific plan for governing.

To help even the playing the field, the DGA spent $3.3 million in New Jersey – more than ever before in the state – with major contributions to candidates and party committees to help them build an effective, statewide, Get-Out-the-Vote effort that can make the difference in a close election. The DGA also made contributions to independent progressive organizations such as New Jersey Progress and the Mid-Atlantic Leadership Fund that spent $4 million on issue ads about government ethics and Chris Christie’s health care plan that allows insurance companies to cut benefits for New Jersey women and children.

For months during the summer and into the fall, pundits all but declared the race over, saying that Christie would win in a walk and give the thirsty GOP base a shot in the arm. After educating voters about his record and Christie’s stance on the issues, Gov. Corzine has turned the race into a dead heat. Analysts such as the Cook Political Report have even described his campaign as what appears to be a “remarkable comeback.”

Virginia

Voters in the Commonwealth have long rejected the party in power in the White House when they vote for governor. As a red-tinged purple state where Democrats have only recently had success, the landscape in the Commonwealth is tilted heavily in favor of Republicans.

The DGA set out to accomplish a titanic task – occupy GOP nominee Bob McDonnell during a contested Democratic primary to give the party’s nominee the best possible start in the general election. The DGA served as Republican Bob McDonnell’s general election opposition during the contested Democratic primary during the spring, earning kudos for “stalking and bedeviling” the unopposed GOP nominee, according to the Associated Press. The DGA contributed $3 million to Common Sense Virginia, an independent Virginia state pac to educate voters about McDonnell’s real record on jobs and the economy, tripling voters’ negative perceptions of him and forcing him to spend more than $2 million before his uncontested primary in June.

National observers, such as Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, commented that DGA was “filling a critical role – ensuring that McDonnell isn’t allowed to make a positive imprint with the state’s voters while its own candidates bash each other relentlessly.” Cillizza added on May 29:

DGA Keeps McDonnell Honest: [Common Sense Virginia] has launched a new ad — its third — hammering Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) as a job killer…Says the ad’s narrator: “Bob McDonnell: A Jobs Governor? You’ve got to be kidding.” The ad is part of a continuing attempt by the DGA to ensure that McDonnell doesn’t get a free pass on introducing himself to Virginia voters while the three Democratic candidates…bash one another…. Polling suggests McDonnell would start the general election with a lead over any of the trio of Democrats.
As Cillizza notes, before the DGA’s efforts began, all the Democratic contenders were losing to McDonnell by double digits. When the DGA’s successful primary opposition campaign ended, Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds was beating McDonnell by several points in head-to-head polling.

The DGA also contributed more than $1 million directly to Deeds, who has been endorsed by the Washington Post and McDonnell’s hometown newspapers for offering realistic, pragmatic leadership, not bogus plans.

Virginians face a stark choice Tuesday between moving the state forward and going backward, especially on issues like creating jobs, strengthening the economy, investing in schools, improving transportation and standing up for women’s rights. Deeds remains within striking distance of victory and can still tap into more than half a million new Democratic voters who went to the polls to cast a ballot for President Obama.

Looking ahead to 2010

The 2010 cycle is the most important election in a generation, as it could reshape the political landscape for decades to come. Nearly 4 in 5 Americans will vote for a Governor, most of whom will have a say in Congressional redistricting. Republicans are targeting these Governors races in the hope of redrawing the district lines and gerrymandering their way into 30 House seats.

To fight back, nearly four years ago the DGA launched Project 2010, a strategic operation to lay the foundation for success in the 37 governors’ races this year. Under the disciplined plan, the DGA is breaking our all-time fundraising records so we can spend substantially more per race than ever before in our history. We are recruiting top-tier candidates in key states. We are contributing early and strategically in battleground states.

Although the landscape remains uphill as Democrats prepare to defend 19 governorships in 2010, the DGA is in a better position than ever before to protect our incumbents, expand our ranks and ensure a fair redistricting process.

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Filed under Democractic Governors Association (DGA), GOP Leaders, Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey, President Obama, the GOP, Virginian

Chris Christie’s ‘Macaca Moment’ on Health Care

John R. Bohrer – Huffington Post

New Jersey’s off-year gubernatorial race has been pretty boring for outsiders, except for maybe the TV ad accusing Chris Christie, the Republican nominee, of “throwing his weight around.” (Christie’s on the heavy side.)

The ad was supposed to draw attention to the fact that Christie got away with some pretty obscene driving offenses, but really, no one cares about that stuff. New Jersey’s race isn’t about driving, it isn’t about corruption, it isn’t about President Obama — it’s about the state economy and taxes. The inability of Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, to find his footing on the economy has made him deeply unpopular for a long, long time. Pundits believe he’s a surefire loser.

So do national Republicans. According to U.S. News & World Report, GOP strategists in Washington will milk a Corzine loss for all its worth, trying to delay the vote on health care reform in order to “[scare] moderate Democrats away from the Obama plan as they worry about their own re-election in 2010.”

But like a lot of other outsiders, the Republicans in Washington haven’t been watching this race closely enough.

If they had been, they’d know that the Christie camp is deeply concerned about the health care debate hurting their candidate. A little more than a week ago, while the rest of the country was buzzing about the ‘Look At That Fat Guy’ ad, Corzine also started airing a TV spot informing voters that Christie supports health insurance companies who deny coverage for mammograms.

The ad must have hurt in the Republicans’ polling, because in no time at all, Christie — long the frontrunner in this race — was forced to play defense.

In light of Christie’s response, the Star-Ledger says Corzine’s ad “happens to be true.”

Final word on this? No way. Christie, when questioned by a cancer survivor, was emphatic when explaining why insurance companies should deny mammograms to young women. The cancer survivor tells him that in fact she had been diagnosed with cancer in her twenties. To that, Christie continues to defend the health insurance companies — and even gets nasty and dismissive with the woman — insisting that dropping mammograms is A-OK because “that’s an exception.”

This is Christie’s ‘macaca moment,’ unleashing his nasty side to show people what Republicans really think about providing all Americans with decent, quality health care. He’s saying that insured or not — if you’re a young woman who wants a mammogram, a health insurance company shouldn’t have to pay because “that’s an exception.”

Christie’s nasty attitude and dismissive tone toward the cancer survivor only makes it worse for him. In July, I wrote that Republicans were endangering Christie — perhaps their only rising star in the Northeast — by stalling the health care reform vote and carrying the debate into October. That was before the rancor and lies of August. New Jersey is still a very blue state, with many more Democratic-leaning independents than Republican ones. The GOP’s angry rhetoric toward the President and his efforts to reform the health care system do not endear Republicans to these voters — voters Christie needs to win this election.

Now Christie is on film, getting short with someone for daring to question the whims of the health care industry. He’s going to have a tough time not looking like just another anti-reform Republican, disdainful for the economic concerns of average citizens just trying to stay healthy.

If Corzine plays his cards right, Christie will have a hell of a time keeping voters focused on the issues he wants. Christie will win this race if GOP opposition to health care reform doesn’t become the leading issue; he may even win it if it does. But if Republicans in Washington believe they can continue their antics without paying the price for it, they may soon think again.

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Filed under Breast Cancer, Chris Christie, Gov. Jon Corzine, health care reform, mammograms, New Jersey, Republicans, the GOP, The Huffington Post, the Star-Ledger, US News and World Reports, Washington DC

Commentary: GOP’s "small government" talk is hollow

By Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. His new book, “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security — From World War II to the War on Terrorism,” will be published this fall by Basic Books. Zelizer writes widely on current events.

PRINCETON, New Jersey (CNN) — As the budget debate heats up, Republicans are warning of socialism in the White House and claiming that Democrats are rushing back to their dangerous tonic of big government.

Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rush Limbaugh warned that “the future is not Big Government. Self-serving politicians. Powerful bureaucrats. This has been tried, tested throughout history. The result has always been disaster.”

On CNN, former Vice President Dick Cheney said he is worried that the administration is using the current economic conditions to “justify” a “massive expansion” in the government.

After the past eight years in American politics, it is impossible to reconcile current promises by conservatives for small government with the historical record of President Bush’s administration. Most experts on the left and right can find one issue upon which to agree: The federal government expanded significantly after 2001 when George W. Bush was in the White House.

The growth did not just take place with national security spending but with domestic programs as well. Even as the administration fought to reduce the cost of certain programs by preventing cost-of-living increases in benefits, in many other areas of policy — such as Medicare prescription drug benefits, federal education standards and agricultural subsidies — the federal government expanded by leaps and bounds. And then there are the costs of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Federal spending stood at about $1.9 trillion in 2000, when Democrat Bill Clinton ended his presidency. In his final year in office, Bush proposed to spend $3.1 trillion for fiscal year 2009. President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal 2010 is $3.6 trillion.

Nor can Republicans blame a Democratic Congress for being responsible for these trends. Much of the expansion took place between 2002 and 2006, when Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House. The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes was writing about “big government conservatism” back in 2003.

Two years later, the right-wing CATO Institute published a report noting that total government spending had grown by 33 percent in President Bush’s first term, lamenting that “President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson.”

There were some areas where Bush backed off government cuts because programs were too popular, like Social Security. In other areas, like federal education policy and prescription drug benefits, the president seemed enthusiastic about bigger government.

Bush and Cheney also embraced a vision of presidential power that revolved around a largely unregulated and centralized executive branch with massive authority over the citizenry. This was a far cry from the days of Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, a Republican who constantly warned about the dangers of presidential power to America’s liberties.

After the 2008 election, Cheney was not apologetic. He explained that “the president believes, I believe very deeply, in a strong executive, and I think that’s essential in this day and age. And I think the Obama administration is not likely to cede that authority back to the Congress. I think they’ll find that given a challenge they face, they’ll need all the authority they can muster.”

Importantly, the marriage between conservatism and a robust federal government was not unique to the Bush presidency. The roots of Bush’s comfort with government can be traced to the Republican Right in the 1950s, members of Congress who called for an aggressive response to domestic and international communism.

Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were two Republicans who pragmatically accepted that Americans had come to expect that the federal government would protect against certain risks and that trying to reverse politics to the pre-New Deal period would be politically suicidal.

“Should any political party,” Eisenhower said, “attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”

When Nixon and congressional Republicans battled with Democrats over Social Security between 1970 and 1972, the debate revolved over how much to expand the program. Congressional Democrats wanted to increase benefits through the legislative process, while Nixon wanted to index benefits so they automatically increased with inflation.

Nixon and Congress did both.

President Reagan backed off his most ambitious efforts to cut government, most dramatically when he abandoned his proposal to curtail Social Security after facing a fierce backlash, while the military budget boomed. President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, which was one of the boldest regulatory expansions of government since the civil rights laws of the 1960s.

All of these presidents, particularly Nixon and Reagan, likewise promoted a muscular vision of presidential power that strengthened the authority of government and introduced concepts, such as the unitary executive, which would become the intellectual underpinning of the Bush administration.

“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal,” Nixon told David Frost in 1977. Like it or not, strengthening the presidency is one of the most important ways in which the role of government has grown since the nation’s founding.

Fifty years of American history have shown that even the party that traditionally advocates small government on the campaign trail opts for big government when it gets into power. The rhetoric of small government has helped Republicans attract some support in the past, but it is hard to take such rhetoric seriously given the historical record — and it is a now a question whether this rhetoric is even appealing since many Americans want government to help them cope with the current crisis.

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Filed under CATO Institute, CNN, Congressional Democrats, Dick Cheney, Julian E. Zelizer, New Jersey, Princton University, Rus Limbaugh, small government, Social Security, the GOP

Quote of the Day: "Limbaugh…manipulating the G-spot of the neocon consciousness"

The last thing we all need are actors that express their political views, but I have to say that actor extraordinaire, Alec Baldwin, in an article posted on the Huffington Post hit this one on the head. 

“Until Limbaugh gets real, weans himself off the big salary and runs for office, he will always be nothing more than a poorly educated, marginally talented buffoon who has developed a real talent for manipulating the G-spot of the neocon consciousness and massaging the hate gland of so many economically displaced white voters in America.”



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Filed under Alec Baldwin, G-spot, Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, the GOP, The Huffington Post