I think it is generally understood that political, science and culture bloggers are supposed to look at current events and provide some insights. It would be easier if current events were not like watching a mad circus. In order to appreciate the crazy, the dangerous, the extreme, the radical, the antithetical to a democratic republic, you have to have some moments of sanity, rationalism, clear thinking for contrast. Otherwise despite one’s best intentions it looks as though you’re being shrill. When the political winds stay constantly in the Twilight Zone of surreality, there is a tendency to see the dark and absurd as the new norm or outrage fatigue sets in. Such is the case for the field of Republican presidential candidates. While some rational sound bite might escape the lips of Mitt Romney or Ron Paul on occasion, amidst the general drift of what they actually stand for is the same well worn insanity passing itself off as reasonable. Such extremism is normal for any political year, yet this cycle represents one of the worse ever cases of conservative nihilism gaining traction. They’re all convinced the economy tanked because government somehow did too much regulation. That immigrants are the country’s biggest problem. One is sure that putting poor children to work cleaning toilets is the answer to the country’s wows and he is the intellectual of the group. Another thinks going back to the gold standard will solve all our problems. It would mean no more wars without paying for them first. Though it would also kill the government’s ability to act on any economic crisis. There is no outrage there because these are people who cheer on the death of someone who did not buy health insurance. If the same fate should fall on millions of U.S. citizens, well that would just be nature’s way of cleaning out the riff-raff and neerdowell leeches of society. So much better for the elite – who never ever collect things like subsides or Medicare, or sell influence to corporate clients. All the candidates would take America backwards to a time when the conservative memory believes everything was great so we could just recycle the same economic and foreign policy disasters. The conservative base, gluttons for self flagellation, most of whom are blessed with a memory that can’t remember what they had for breakfast much the facts and timeline of the housing bubble are fired up at the prospect of hitting the reset button to enjoy another round of boom and bust.Imagine your doctor prescribing a course of treatment. You get sicker, so you go to another doctor and start to get better with the new regime. Conservatives are your first doctor and they want everyone to forget their course of treatment was what pushed the nation into the critical care ward. The problem(s) is not all about conservative memory issues. As I was looking up one of the links I found hundreds of right-wing websites who in very serious tones- though a dearth of evidence ( shrill insistence on one’s opinion does not count as a fact) who have rewritten the financial collapse as the fault of Barney Frank or Fannie May or anyone except those angelic captains of industry on Wall Street. Barney Frank – more powerful than George W. Bush and his government appointees, the Republican Party and Superman. Historians need to jump on this major revelation about American history – the lone Congressman who secretly ruled the nation, who was the ultimate puppet-master, his opponents powerless against him.
Another conservative zombie myth: gov’mint regulations are the only thing standing between the unemployment line and everyone living in a castle with their own mote. Mitt Romney lies and lies again about Obama record on regulations
Here’s something Mitt Romney is being firm and consistent on: lying about the Obama administration’s record on regulations. Monday in New Hampshire, Romney said:
The level of regulation in America, every the regulators, the government, come up with new regulations. And they send them out. The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’
Of course, both the claim about the increase in regulation under Obama and the claim about the resulting effect on business are false, but it’s not the first time Romney has gone there. Think Progress takes us through the sorry history:
When Romney made the same claim during an interview with NPR in September, NPR asked the Romney campaign for verification, at which point the campaign was forced to admit that “the Governor misspoke.”
Instead, the Romney camp told NPR that new regulations under Obama are twice what they were under President George W. Bush. Trouble is, that’s not true either, as Bloomberg News pointed out:
Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.
Later on during the event, Romney claimed that, according to an official government report, regulations costs the U.S. economy $1.7 trillion annually.
You guessed it: That’s not true either. Just a fraction of a percent of layoffs have been attributed to regulation under Obama, and more than one study, including an OMB estimate, have found that the economic benefits of major regulations outweigh their costs, sometimes by a large margin.
It is part of the quintessential American character to not like any more rules than are necessary. Anyone care to do some air travel without the regulations required by the FAA about air traffic control. How long would the airline industry last if the best protection you had against crashing into another plane was crossed fingers and a rabbit’s foot. Think that there are a lot of jerks on the roadways. Imagine them without rules and enforcement. Want to let banks do whatever they want? Stock up on tissues, you’ll need for the big cry you have when your banker takes your life savings and all the banks’ assets to his retirement home in the Caymans. Conservatives still live in the childish world of simplistic bumper sticker quotes. They do not do reasonable or rational well. For the most part they even hold those concepts in contempt, much like a misbehaving four year old. Four year old should not be allowed in positions of responsibility, they should be playing with non-toxic toys that do not have sharp edges.
Andrew Sullivan is hit and miss on political analysis. He and The New Republic are probably right in this post about conservative panic – “Full Unconcealed Panic” Ctd
Charles Krauthammer: “Gingrich has his own vulnerabilities. The first is often overlooked because it is characterological rather than ideological: his own unreliability. Gingrich has a self-regard so immense that it rivals Obama’s—but, unlike Obama’s, is untamed by self-discipline.
Ross Douthat: “[Gingrich’s] candidacy isn’t a test of religious conservatives’ willingness to be good, forgiving Christians. It’s a test of their ability to see their cause through outsiders’ eyes, and to recognize what anointing a thrice-married adulterer as the champion of “family values” would say to the skeptical, the unconverted and above all to the young.”
Joe Scarborough: “When [Gingrich] puts on his political helmet he is a terrible person. … Let me tell you something: the Republican establishment will never make peace with Newt Gingrich. They just won’t! They won’t. This is an important point. Because the Republicans I talk to say he cannot win the nomination at any cost. He will destroy the party. He will re-elect Barack Obama and we’ll be ruined. That’s going to happen. I mean Newt Gingrich would possibly win 100 electoral votes.”
[ ]…But in many ways, this is all a simple result of the intellectual and ideological collapse of the Republican party. All they have, it seems, are some visceral reactions to social change – Latino immigrants, gay spouses, tolerant Millennials – and an argument that remains unchanged for thirty years, regardless of a hugely changed world.
So we have a Cold War mentality without the Soviet Union – and a crazy endorsement of pre-emptive war and torture as core elements of American exceptionalism! We have a myth of massive new regulations by the Obama administration. We have more tax cuts, as if Reagan’s supply side policies have been vindicated in the long term. And we have more tax cuts, while revenue is at 50 year lows. Or we have truly utopian ideas like abolishing the Fed, bringing back child labor, and fracking our way out of climate change.
It is probably tempting for moderates to be over confident for a big Democratic sweep in this election cycle. Just remember the tea baggers and the election and subsequent voters regret over governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida. Crazy sells. Remember that we live in country that orders millions of that crap on late night TV that promise to slim you down and wax your car while you watch CSI reruns. Discouraged Democrats can sit at home and sulk while they wait for Glenn Greenwald’s perfect politician and reap another round of wackos controlling all three branches of government.
A war criminal who blew victory in Afghanistan because he was in a hurry to invade Iraq has advice for President Obama: Cheney: Obama Should Have Ordered A ‘Quick Airstrike’ To Take Out Downed Drone In Iran
Just a “quick airstrike,” Cheney said was all it would take. Nothing fancy. Of course this particularly direction doesn’t take into account how the Iranians might perceive and react to an American bombing campaign on their soil.
It’s also worth noting that early on during the Bush administration — when Cheney was arguably running the foreign policy show — President Bush pursued a similar course that Obama chose with the drone when an American spy-plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet and was forced to land on Chinese territory. Instead of bombing the plane, the United States issued a letter of apology saying it was “very sorry.” The Chinese released the American flight crew and returned the plane in pieces three months later.
Speaking of four year olds. If you had a child they repeatedly rammed his head into a door jam, you’s seek professional help, right. Cheney has the same mentality of said four year year old and is damn sure banging his head feels great. Many of his followers feels the same way. If they want to have a head injury cult that’s fine, but why drag the whole country into their sick rituals.
Senate Democrats and the White House are executing a strategy to prevent House Republicans from jamming them with legislation to extend the current payroll tax cut that’s been larded up with GOP goodies, according to White House and Congressional aides. For all practical purposes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has linked the payroll tax issue — and other key end-of-the-year issues — with legislation to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. And he’s presenting Republicans with a choice: deal in good faith on the payroll tax issue, or trigger a government shutdown.
Democrats were worried that House Republicans would close ranks around a version of a payroll holiday that included both must-pass items (such as an extension of unemployment insurance and a patch to prevent Medicare physicians from experiencing a severe pay cut on the first of the year) and GOP poison pills (including a provision forcing the Obama administration to give thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days)…then pass it and skip town, leaving Democrats little choice but to swallow their bill whole.
Senate conservative leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY) did admit that holding the country hostage and making Americans suffer has worked for Republicans and they would do it again. So a few million Americans can’t pay their utility bill, whats important is that Mitch’s corporate cronies get their land-based version of the BP Gulf spill on schedule. Other poison pills the brats have attached to the bill include a measure allowing the Defense Department to count coal as a source of renewable energy, a rescission of funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a rider banning the Department of Energy from spending money to encourage a shift to fluorescent lightbulbs and tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba. Wouldn’t Cubans spending money brought by American visitors be the kind of subtle anti-socialism message conservatives should want to send.
“It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears.” – Rod Sterling