Archive for the ‘Conservatives’ tag
Bobo somehow managed to survive his latest access-induced fever to scribble down some notes involving a wonderful dream he had about a “fiscal Conservative” named Meg Whitman. You see, Meg is a total babe because she spent $120 million on her campaign to become California’s governor, but she has the common decency to keep an old Ford in her garage, which tells you she’s One Of Us.
Whitman serves on what Bobo has dubbed the “austerity caucus,” but could more accurately be described as the “hypocrite squad.” What makes Whiteman sexy, according to Bobo, is that she isn’t flashy like Sarah Palin, but rather “detail-oriented, managerial, tough-minded, effective but a little dry.” Apparently, “flamingly contradictory” didn’t make the cut, though the label fits.
The “fiscally Conservative” Whitman supported the bank bailout. At the time, she called it “the right thing to do.” Meanwhile, the other GOP rockstars Bobo lists as part of the austerity caucus: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jeb Bush, Gov. and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are guilty of blatant hypocrisy when it comes to austerity measures, and dickensian budget cuts that play well in elite GOP circles, but which actually hurt real life people Bobo and Company will never have to meet.
Bobby Jindal first rejected stimulus, and then later attempted to take credit for it, and Jeb Bush praised President Obama’s Race to the Top program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 AKA “the stimulus.” The austerity cheerleaders are all for slashing spending…until their states really need the cash, at which point they quietly pocket the money and hope the media and the voters never hold them accountable.
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Image by bsryan via Flickr
The very public implosion of the Republican base into a tribe of frothing-at-the-mouth racist, homophobic militants has been so extensively documented that it has inspired former Conservative bloggers like John Cole and Andrew Sullivan to renounce and/or heavily modify their political ideologies.
Through it all, the claim from party leadership and beltway insiders has been that the Republican Party has newly fractured into two extremist sects: the Neo-Conservatives, hellbent on world domination, and the Tea Party militants, who refuse to recognize a Democratic and/or black president, and who truly believe feminists, blacks, gays, Hispanics, the poor, and the unions (the dangerous — yet strangely amorphous — “Them” Glenn Beck always whips out when a specific enemy isn’t readily available) are encircling the suburbs.
The Tea Party base has been described as a new phenomenon — a surprising turn of events that no one could have ever, ever predicted. Most recently, a spokesman for Astroturf Inc. FreedomWorks, quoted his boss, Dick Armey:
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Image from Wikipedia
It’s tempting to dismiss the recent whitewashing of history by the Texas Board of Education as a parochial problem. However, the board’s decisions to erase Thomas Jefferson, Cesar Chavez, the separation of Church and State (all while exalting the glories of Capitalism, The Heritage Foundation, and the Moral Majority) are more than poor judgments worthy of collective mockery. This kind of censorship and propaganda presents a grave danger to the public education system.
The Washington Monthly‘s Mariah Blake wrote a fantastic profile on the Texas Board of Education that I highly recommend be read in its entirety.
Blake includes this fascinating interaction with Don McLeroy, a man who would probably be dismissed as a raving lunatic were in not for the fact that he sits on the Texas Board of Education, and is one of the leaders of an activist bloc that holds enormous sway over the body’s decisions.
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Good work, everyone!
I’ve never bought the idea that opposition to abortion is solely about controlling women’s bodies. I’ve just known too many people who were genuinely sincere in their religious beliefs that abortion is wrong. But I’ve seen little evidence that conservatives’ hostility to contraception, to methods that prevent unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions, from taking place, could be anything else. Steve Benen writes, via Elana Schor, that Republicans are opposed to money in the stimulus bill that would help state governments assist low-income women in getting contraception coverage:
What’s being proposed is an expansion in the number of states that can use Medicaid money, with a federal match, to help low-income women prevent unwanted pregnancies. Of the 26 states that already have Medicaid waivers for family planning, eight are led by Republican governors (AL, FL, MS, SC, CA, LA, MN and RI — a ninth, MO, had a GOP governor until this past November). If this policy is truly a taxpayer gift to “the abortion industry,” as John Boehner and House Republicans claim, where are the GOP governors promising to end the program in their states?
Additionally, the process of obtaining a waiver for Medicaid family-planning coverage is extremely cumbersome. A letter written by Wisconsin health regulators in 2007 noted that some states have had to wait for as long as two years before their request was approved. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that eliminating the waiver requirement would save states $400 million over 10 years.
Beyond the fact that this policy would save the government money in the long run (a finding from the same office that didn’t produce that report on the stimulus), are Republicans really arguing that unwanted pregnancies don’t result in a significant financial burden for families that are already struggling in an economy that’s likely to get worse? What’s the moral justification for denying them the choice of preventing pregnancies they don’t want? That having sex should be predicated on yearly income?
– A. Serwer
(My headline, not David’s. David is a very nice man.)
Hide your children! Its Xavi!
My dad used to tell me that when you watch baseball and you see a fly ball hit into the outfield, you have to watch the outfielders and not the ball to get a sense of where the ball is going. It can be the same thing in politics – you often have to watch the reaction of key sets of people to understand the policy implications of a given move.
So in light of that, when Karl Rove and the conservative commentariat are praising a president’s move – any president’s – it’s a sign that the move is an out. However, when corporate lobbyists and right-wing think tanks are criticizing a president’s move, that’s a great sign that it’s going to be an extra-base hit – and that’s exactly what’s happening in the wake of the news about trade critic Rep. Xavier Becerra being appointed the next U.S. Trade Representative:
“We’re pretty concerned about some of the past statements he’s made on issues such as Nafta,” says one well-plugged in business lobbyist…
While [Becerra] voted for Nafta, he later said he regrets having done so. More recently, he voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but did vote for a trade pact with Peru. At times he has been highly critical of the global trading system, calling it “broken completely” in 2006 before voting against a trade deal with Oman.
“It’s troubling; to oppose Nafta is in many ways to lash out symbolically against trade,” without understanding the benefits of that agreement says Philip Levy, a former Bush administration trade official now with the American Enterprise Institute. “You want the chief person who has to make the case to the American public for trade to recognize what those agreements did.”
I love the part from the American Enterprise Institute hack equating opposition to NAFTA to somehow not “recognizing what those agreements did.” It’s the old binary frame that portrays those in favor of job-killing, wage-destroying, environment-raping corporate-written trade agreements as Serious and Enlightened and those who want a new trade model as Know-Nothing Luddites.
Becerra likely knows all to well what NAFTA did. It’s not that hard to see it when you walk the streets of many places in the United States, or when you bother to simply look at the data. We’re going to need a trade representative who understands the pitfalls of our current policies in order to make sure, as Businessweek says, that the jobs created by the economic rescue package are created here in America, and not abroad.
The fact that his nomination has corporate lobbyists and the conservative D.C. Establishment worried is a very good thing indeed.