WP: “Republicans See Long-Term Victory in Defeat on Stimulus Plan”

According to the Washington Post, the Repubs are angling towards a long-term, more strategic game in Congress.  Really, as far as that goes, all you need to see is the title.  But if you read further into the article, it becomes interesting.  I’ve managed to confirm my suspicions- the Republicans see this as 1993, and all they have to do, in their minds, is be obstructionist and stick to Rush’s mantras.  And I may have said this before, but I don’t think that will work.

It’s almost as if the Republicans learned nothing when they got their asses handed to them in November.  They seem to think that the only reason people didn’t vote for them was because of El Jorge.  So they think that Democrats and people who voted for them in November will just take a nap now that El Jorge is back in Texas.  There’s a name for this.  It’s called wishful thinking.  As the article points out, the Republicans have lost ground almost everywhere except for the South, and the Democrats have the highest number of self-designated party IDs in over 25 years.  I don’t see this being 1993, because history does not really repeat itself.  The fact that the moderate Republican wing has been decimated in Congress means that most of the people left are the “Southern nut” wing.

Furthermore, I’m skeptical of this attitude that “we can get out of this hole by digging more”, when I see numbers like this (H/T Wonkette).  Given that many people obviously disapprove of the Republican handling of the stimpak, how can they possibly say, “W00t, we’re winning!”?  As Lewis Black once said, “I wonder, what kind of a drug could make one so delusional?”

Of course, those numbers are numbers for right now, and say nothing of how the Republicans will be perceived in the coming months.  As the article notes, it likely depends on how well the stimpak goes.  Well, we’ll see.  I just don’t think any of the backpatting among Repub leaders is the least bit justified.  Maybe I’m wrong, but again, we’ll see.

Teh Stupidz: Joe the Plumber, Political Strategist?

From the Department of Stupid Political Tricks:

Fresh off his stint as a war correspondent in Gaza, Joe the Plumber is now doing political strategy with Republicans.

When GOP congressional aides gather Tuesday morning for a meeting of the Conservative Working Group, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher – more commonly known as Joe the Plumber — will be their featured guest. This group is an organization of conservative Capitol Hill stafferswho meet regularly to chart GOP strategy for the week.

For anyone who doesn’t understand why this is teh stupid, let me give you an analogy.  This is the political equivalent of a stage backdrop directing a production of Macbeth.  Let’s make it quite clear: Samuel the non-Plumber is not a political strategist.  Neither should he be the “champion of the middle class”.  No one asked you to champion us, Samuel, and I don’t want a one-trick political prop to be the voice of my class.

To support his unwanted championship of the middle class, he started a site, which I refuse to link to.  I won’t give this pompous donkey any traffic.  He’s got some book about “Fighting for the American Dream”.  Joe.  Give up this asinine attempt to remain relevant.  You entered your sixteenth minute of fame at the end of the third debate.  Shoo, before I get really mad.

(H/T The Moderate Voice)

FiveThirtyEight.com: Just Five Red States Left?

That’s right.  The estimable Nate Silver at the superb FiveThirtyEight.com (They just overwhelmingly won an award for Best Political Coverage of 2008.) has a post up about a Gallup poll showing what appears to be trouble for the Republicans.

Apparently only five states are true “red states”, and they collectively comprise about 2% of our nation’s population.  That would be Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, and Alaska.  There are a few caveats, though.  A Democrat from West Virginia is not the same as a Democrat from Massachusetts.  And the unwieldy coalition that the Democrats appear to have forged consists of people who don’t always get along very well.  Nevertheless, not something the Republicans should be very happy about.  Read the whole article.

FiveThirtyEight.com: Politics Done Right: Just Five Red States Left?

Pimp My Ride: Presidential Edition

The Christian Science Monitor recently ran a profile on President Obama’s (I love saying that!) new ride.  Meet the 2009 Presidential Cadillac Limousine.  It’s a tank dressed up in drag as a limo.  Seriously.  How many other limos have self-sealing fuel tanks, shotguns in the front seat doors, five-inch thick armor (making the doors weigh as much as a 757 cabin door), tear gas cannons, a foldout desktop, a satellite phone, and “[b]ottles of the president’s blood kept on board in case he needs an emergency transfusion.” [emphasis mine]  Wow.  I’d take the shotguns alone, they would be very nice if I got caught in traffic when I needed to get somewhere.  But that other stuff could be handy, too.

Of course, there is a price to this sort of style.  O’s Caddy costs the taxpayers, according to the CSM’s graphic, 300,000 pounds.  Given the current exchange rate, that’s probably close to $400,000, if not more.  That’s one costly ride.  Plus, it only gets 8 MPG.  Remember, though, it is a GM product.  What did you really expect?  I suppose hybrid tech is too unreliable for the Secret Service to chance the President’s life in it.  Still, it’s a darn nice car.

The First Speed Bump

For those of us who thought the Obama transition was going too smoothly to be humanly possible, NBC has this news:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama’s commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.

Let’s hope this isn’t just a precursor to worse things to come.

(H/T NBC via The Daily Beast)

The Long Slow Descent of the Republicans

Today in the Department of Stupid Jokes:

A candidate for the Republican National Committee chair [Chip Saltsman] sent out a holiday CD to committee members that includes the song “Barack the Magic Negro,” a parody first aired on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

And here’s the heck of it.  Mr. Saltsman may have done a good thing- for his campaign:

Four days after news broke that the former Tennessee GOP chairman had sent a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to the RNC members he is courting, some of those officials are rallying around the embattled Saltsman, with a few questioning whether the national media and his opponents are piling on.

It’s not piling on to question the judgment of someone who would like to head the Republican National Committee when he sends out a borderline-racist bad satire of the president-elect.  If the Republicans wish to become more than just the party of the South (and not all of the South, as Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida would testify), they need to stop pulling these sorts of stunts.  First of all, it’s not funny.  I read the lyrics for that song and it just wasn’t funny.  Second of all, you’re not going to gain more people by reaching to the right.  If anything, the GOP should be reaching out in other directions.  But this is the sort of thing that alienates moderates who want civil discourse, not bad satire.  And finally, let me offer a reason to question Saltsman’s fitness to be chairman of the RNC for a different reason.  He managed Mike Huckabee’s campaign.  As in, a failure.  I admit, Howard Dean became chairman of the DNC after failing and may have paved the way for Barack Obama to sit in the Oval Office come January, but Dean had some new ideas.  He failed because he was ahead of the curve.  The Internet, which Dean almost managed to harness, became Barack Obama’s biggest asset in the election.  Saltsman’s idea of change for the RNC?  Blame “[l]iberal Democrats and their allies in the media” for making a big deal out of his little Christmas gift.  Please join me in a communal eye-rolling at the old Republican excuse.  It’s like “the dog ate my homework,” except dumber.  Particularly because people like NEWT GINGRICH are criticizing him.  Newt Gingrich is many things.  A “[l]iberal Democrat” he is not.  Let this be the end of “Magic-Negro-gate”:  Chip Saltsman is hereby judged to be a tool.  He should be banished to the netherlands of Shame, if the Republicans hope to regain a majority.  While some people might share Rush Limbaugh’s sense of humor, I doubt there are many not on the right.

(H/T Politico, via The Daily Beast)

Quote of the Day, 12-22-08

“If I was to really get at the burr in my saddle, it’s not politics – and this is, I think, probably a horrible analogy – but I look at politicians as, they are doing what inherently they need to do to retain power. Their job is to consolidate power. When you go to the zoo and you see a monkey throwing poop, you go, ‘that’s what monkeys do, what are you gonna do?’ But what I wish the media would do more frequently is say ‘bad monkey.'” -Jon Stewart, September 29, 2004

(H/T Wikiquote)

By the way, I’m terribly sorry about not having a Quote of the Day for the last week.  My little brother was hogging the Internet computer in our house.  But I’m back!  And just to let you know, February will be the Month of Montaigne.  As in Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher and inventor of the essay.  I’m going to be reading his book Essays and reflecting on it.  And all of the Quotes of the Day for that month will be from Montaigne, unless something comes up.  Happy holidays (or whatever)!

Quick Thought on Dick Morris

I was just thinking, as I left my class just before, about Dick Morris.  This is something that I try not to do, generally, but in this case, it was fairly spontaneous.  I remembered how Dick Morris had been on two consecutive covers of TIME, which is not something that happens very often.  The first one was about how Dick was Bill Clinton’s golden boy, how he had won reelection for Bill, and all that stuff.  Then, the week after that, they ran a cover story about how Dick had done it with hos.  I thought, “Wow.  That fall from prominence didn’t take too long.”  Oh, and I thought about how ironic that a guy named Dick got busted for extramarital sex.  Moral of the story, ladies: Don’t marry guys named Dick, the blatant symbolism of that name is really just asking for it. So now Dick Morris, who was once oh-so-up-and-coming, is reduced to Hannity (pretty soon it will be de jure just Hannity, not like now, which is de facto only Hannity), saying pathetically hypocritical stuff about sexism.  Oh, and writing books with long subtitles.  Rather pitiful, eh?

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud.” -Ancient Greek saying

Too Much Bad Stuff (UPDATED)

As I’m writing, I’m watching the 24 movie, and in a commercial break just before, I saw an two interesting commercial(s).  One by the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee), basically accusing Jim Martin of enabling child prostitution and drug dealers who hang out near schools.  And then I saw a Jim Martin commercial accusing Saxby of not caring about the middle class (kind of the thing jim’s been hammering since the economic troubles started) and not knowing what a recession is.  Just one more thing to make me love this runoff.  I can’t wait ’till December 3rd.  If you’re not in Georgia, you are damn lucky.

UPDATE: I found a quite excellent item on FactCheck.Org (if you don’t read them…why don’t you?) about the NRSC ad, and another ad from a different conservative group.  Both equally false.  No word yet on the Martin ad.

Republicans in the Wilderness

As I stated before, there is no doubt that the Republican Party will be spending some time on the outside looking in.  The only thing they can do at this point is to determine how long they’ll be out of power.  And of course there are all sorts of suggestions flying around, and a lot of them center on an argument similar to the one Bill Bennett advances in this interview, that the Republican Party has lost its roots, and needs to find them again.  Let me state that I think that a simple return to the past is not possible at this point.

Let me take a page from my World Civilization Class, and talk a little bit about the Congress of Vienna.  At the post-Napoleon rearranging of Europe, the dominant figure, Klemens von Metternich, the foreign minister of Austria, tried to arrange Europe so that none of the principles of the French Revolution would persist.  He tried to put the revolutionary djinn back into the bottle, so to speak.  And yet it didn’t work.  Within a few years, student movements had sprung up in Saxony and had to be eradicated by Austria and Prussia.  A few years later, revolutionary movements broke out in Spain and southern Italy.  Then, of course, there was the disastrous year of 1848, when most of Europe experienced revolutionary unrest.  In fact, 1848 led to the final downfall of the French Bourbons, and a short-lived reestablishment of the French Republic.  Of course, very few revolutions actually succeeded in changing much, but the fact of the matter was that they still happened, despite reactionary efforts to pretend that the French Revolution had never happened.  The fact of the matter is that once people gain knowledge, it’s near impossible to take it back.  There are no do-overs in history.

So color me skeptical that the GOP’s way forward is the way back.  It’s entirely possible that I could be mistaken.  But I think that there will have to be some changes.  And it won’t come easily.  The Democrats are supposed to be the “progressive”, the “forward-thinking” party, and some Dems had to be dragged into the new reality, kicking and screaming.

“Return to our roots” is the mantra that Bennett and many others hum as the gutting of the GOP continues.  And really, only time and the voters of the U.S.A. will be able to prove Bennett, myself, and the rest of the punditocracy right or wrong.  All speculation and assertion is useless for this sort of thing.  Because whether the GOP likes it or not, change is coming to them.