Archive for January, 2011

GOP wants Palin to “sit down and shut up”

On Tuesday, a remarkable thing happened among the possible contenders for the Republican presidential nomination: Newt Gingrich warned Sarah Palin to be more careful about her incendiary rhetoric.
Yep, you read that right. Newt Gingrich, the king of incendiary rhetoric, champion of rhetorical fireballs, the emperor of verbal excess, cautioned Palin about watching her words. Watch him, interviewed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

That’s just one more sign of how worried Republican leaders are about the prospect of a Palin presidential run. Her negatives are climbing; a recent poll gives her an unfavorable rating of 53 percent, the highest disapproval she has scored since John McCain chose her as his running mate. A long line of establishment Republicans, including Barbara Bush and Karl Rove, have suggested that she should not run. Ross Douthat, conservative columnist for The New York Times, insists that the news media should stop talking about her :

To the media: Cover Sarah …

Continue reading GOP wants Palin to “sit down and shut up” »

A new low for Rush Limbaugh?

For the most part, I think Rush Limbaugh is better ignored. He’s a shameless liar who has helped turn incivility into the national past-time, a demagogue who has done more than his share to divide the body politic. And made hundreds of millions of dollars doing it.
But his utterly classless mocking today of a visiting dignitary — Chinese President Hu Jintao — ought to embarrass many of Limbaugh’s ardent fans. While Limbaugh frequently engages in race-baiting, his performance today was a low ebb even for him.
Commenting on the fact that Fox didn’t immediately provide translation during Hu Jintao’s press conference, he mocks the president’s language in the childish and stupid faux Mandarin that was typical of bad Hollywood slapstick of the 1920s and ’30s. (h/t Steve Benen):

“We’re not gonna gyp Fox,” Rush Limbaugh said. “I wanted to gyp it because the — well, the — Hu Jintao, he was speaking, and they weren’t translating. They normally — you have some translator every couple …

Continue reading A new low for Rush Limbaugh? »

Nathan Deal’s false beliefs about taxes

WASHINGTON — Among Republican governors, there is a mythology about tax-cutting that is as sacred as any religious belief: if you want to create jobs, cut taxes for businesses. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is a disciple of that religion, and he is following blindly along.

Faced with a gaping state budget deficit of more than $1.2 billion, Deal has proposed reducing the state corporate income tax. He says he can salvage state revenue through a comprehensive revision of the tax code that will shift the tax burden to consumers. That might mean, among other things, a return to the days when Georgians paid taxes on groceries  — a proposal which Deal hasn’t endorsed but hasn’t ruled out, either.

Until he gets his new tax code, Deal intends to slash services, including education. He has promised more money for K-12, but he will continue the recent trend of hacking away at higher education, which has sustained nearly a decade of cuts already.

He also said that he will cap …

Continue reading Nathan Deal’s false beliefs about taxes »

The Ala governor’s un-King-like comments

Yesterday, Robert Bentley, who was shortly to be inaugurated governor of Alabama, stood in the pulpit at Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, which was led by a young Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s, and said something which was very un-MLK-like. He declared that those who have “not accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour” are not his “brothers and sisters.” From The Birmingham News:

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit,” Bentley said. ”But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”

Bentley added, ”Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their …

Continue reading The Ala governor’s un-King-like comments »

Health care law is no job-killer

Last week, following the atrocity in Tucson, Congress briefly suspended partisan politics. But that suspension has ended, and its back to politics as usual. Republicans have resumed their assault on what they call the “job-killing health care law.”

You’ve got to give Republicans credit. For at least two decades, they have dominated the dark art of political messaging, creating words and phrases that bash their political opponents and persuade the voters to agree with their views. It’s also true that Republicans don’t mind telling outright lies to accomplish their goals. Their messaging on health care is no exemption.

Independent analysis say the health care law does not kill jobs. From McClatchy:

Despite what Republicans say, the 2010 health care law isn’t necessarily a job killer.

Republicans have titled their effort to overturn the law the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” and that’s their favorite talking point against it. The House of Representatives will …

Continue reading Health care law is no job-killer »

Maybe Arizona’s Gov. Brewer has learned a lesson

Call me a cynic, but I don’t believe for one minute that most of our politicians, pundits or even most average citizens will be moved to tone down the venemous rhetoric that passes for political discourse these days — even after the president’s deeply moving memorial tribute asking us to be more civil. The days since the atrocity in Tucson have been an orgy of vitriol, finger-pointing and pettiness of the kind that Obama decried. That will continue. Right, Rush Limbaugh?
But I do have hope that one politician who engaged in ugly partisan rhetoric, fear-mongering and scapegoating may have learned a lesson from the evil of last Saturday: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. She seems genuinely horrified by the atrocity, and she seems sincere in her efforts to turn down the heat.
Brewer is no eloquent public speaker. In fact, she’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from Obama. But last night, she seemed genuinely heartened to see the president, with whom she has publicly sparred.
Brewer …

Continue reading Maybe Arizona’s Gov. Brewer has learned a lesson »

Loughner and a culture of gun lunacy

WASHINGTON —   Jared Loughner, it would appear, is delusional. His troubling rants reveal a person with a tenuous grip on the rational world. But given a culture which allowed him to legally purchase a firearm and ammunition, you have to wonder whether he’s the only one with a loose grip on reality.

Loughner seems to believe that his government was seeking to control him through grammar and that proper use of the language will guard against tyranny. Many of his fellow citizens seem to believe that any attempt to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally incompetent or the dangerously unstable is a sign of government tyranny.

If his disjointed writings are any guide, Loughner believes that paper currency has no value. Many of his fellow Americans seem to think that sensible gun regulations have no value — that they are mere obstacles to the law-abiding citizen who wants to protect home and hearth.

According to polls, support for gun safety laws has fallen over the …

Continue reading Loughner and a culture of gun lunacy »

Palin’s crosshairs and the First Amendment

As much fun as it is to call out the clueless Sarah Palin for her long list of gaffes, lies and inflammatory nonsense, neither she or her supporters caused the Arizona atrocity. If Jared Loughner, the suspect, is the culprit, it’s likely that we’ll find that he suffers from a serious mental illness — perhaps paranoid schizophrenia — and probably hears voices. Maybe he hears Palin. It’s just as likely he hears Zeus or the Green Hornet.
Palin has taken a lot of grief since the shooting spree because of an irresponsible image she used on her Facebook page during the campaign. In listing a group of Democratic Congressional seats that she wanted Republicans to win, she used a map of the United States and imposed images of gunsights over several Congressional seats. One of those was the seat held by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
(Palin has since claimed the image wasn’t crosshairs, but that’s nonsense. It was.)
In response, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) wants to make it illegal …

Continue reading Palin’s crosshairs and the First Amendment »

Tom DeLay, ‘The Hammer’, goes down

When Tom “The Hammer” Delay was indicted on charges of political corruption in 2005, he and his supporters denounced the effort as political persecution by Democrats. He proclaimed his innocence and, according to CNN, blasted the charge as a “sham” and an act of “political retribution.”

“I have done nothing wrong,” DeLay told reporters. “I have violated no law, no regulation, no rule of the House.”

But he did violate the law. As House Majority Leader, DeLay was always one of the most aggressively partisan members of an aggressively partisan Republican majority, and he wanted to do whatever he could to ensure that Republicans controlled the state legislature in Texas. But Texas law forbids state legislative candidates from taking corporate donations for their campaigns.

So DeLay — through a PAC called Texans for a Republican Majority — took money from corporations, laundered it through the Republican National Committee and doled it out to several Republican legislation …

Continue reading Tom DeLay, ‘The Hammer’, goes down »

Dupnik fingers Arizona’s lax gun laws

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik — speaking frankly about the dangers of “the vitriol” that seeps through our political discourse — has quickly become the subject of outrage himself.

In his first appearance after the weekend atrocity, Dupnik said:

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

The suspect, Jared Loughner, appears to be deeply disturbed. And we’ll likely never know whether he was at all influenced by the ugly, venemous nature of our political discourse.

But Dupnik was surely onto something on Sunday, when he pointed the finger at Arizona’s lax gun laws:

“We’re the tombstone of the United States of America,” he told reporters.

Dupnik used the end of a …

Continue reading Dupnik fingers Arizona’s lax gun laws »