The problem is the GOP’s got a washout at quarterback, no line, a banged up secondary, etc. They don’t have the talent, but the coaches think yelling loud motivational things will be the ticket to ride.
This opinion by the Evansville Courier Press seems to get it about right:
If President Bush had a history of opposing big government and big spending, his choice of a child health insurance bill for only the fourth veto of his presidency might be more understandable.
But he has calmly presided over the largest increase in spending and the creation of the largest government entitlement â€” prescription drugs â€” since the Great Society.
. . .
As for competing with private insurance, as Bush charges, the president greatly overestimates the availability and affordability of purely private insurance.
The opinion goes on to note some of the problems with the legislation, but those problems seem to have precious little to do with Bush’s reasons for vetoing the bill. We can spend billions per week and get nothing in return in Iraq, but God forbid we spend the money on sick kids. (Actually, I say “the money” as if we have it. We don’t. We’re borrowing it from great market economies like China. In fact, these kids are going to be paying the tab for today’s expenditures, they might as well get some of the benefits.)
Brooks suggests that the Republicans have lost their way because they “have made ideological choices that offend conservatismâ€™s Burkean roots.” Choices that reflect the wishes of “creedal conservatives” have offended the sensibilities of Midwestern, suburban, and business conservatives who care “about order, prudence and balanced budgets more than transformational leadership and perpetual tax cuts.”
Cole calls this hogwash. He cites the overt the top reaction of right-wing bloggers to Obama’s statement that he prefers talking to people about his patriotism over wearing a flag-pin on his lapel. Cole suggests that people are tired of being associated with these “drooling retards.”
Like me. It had nothing to do with Burke, and everything to do with what the party had become. A bunch of bedwetting, loudmouth, corrupt, hypocritical, and incompetent boobs with a mean streak a mile long and no sense of fair play or proportion.
Seriously- what does the current Republican party stand for? Permanent war, fear, the nanny state, big spending, torture, execution on demand, complete paranoia regarding the media, control over your body, denial of evolution and outright rejection of science, AND ZOMG THEY ARE GONNA MAKE US WEAR BURKHAS, all the while demanding that in order to be a good American I have to spend most of every damned day condemning half my fellow Americans as terrorist appeasers.
And also, you know, the corruption.
But I think they’re both right. Time after time, I’ve seen Republicans on the national level appeal to emotion over reason. They don’t have a monopoly on this tactic, of course. A campaign is going to lose if it is appealing exclusively to the rationality of the electorate and the other side is stoking the electorate’s lizard brain. But, when you start disdaining reality-based policies because they offend emotionally-appealing dogma, you’ve gone off the rails. You will no longer be very appealing to those voters who simply want an opportunity to make a profit in an orderly society. Furthermore, self-appointed watch-dogs of ideological purity have a tendency to get ugly when there is no objective reality to keep them in check.
I suspect the Republicans’ time in the wilderness this time out will be especially ugly. But, eventually they’ll regroup — my preference would be as economic conservatives and social libertarians, but I’m not holding my breath — and the more unchecked power the Democrats have, the more corrupt they will become, and the tide will turn once again.
Sylvia Smith, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has an interesting article on farm subsidies, particularly the disaster relief program. She reports that growers and ranchers in 10 disaster prone state got more than half of the disaster relief. For example, North Dakota farmers received $1.9 billion over the same period that a comparable number of Hoosier farmers received $340 million.
The Environmental Working Group argues:
When Congress provides money to growers in the same states year after year for the same weather-related reasons, the Environmental Working Groupâ€™s president said, it encourages people to farm or ranch in climates that donâ€™t make sense for agriculture.
â€œYou have the government sending signals encouraging people to take chances â€¦ where Mother Nature is saying, â€˜Youâ€™re pushing things,â€™ â€ Ken Cook said Tuesday when his group released a report analyzing 21 years of disaster payments.
Senator Lugar has a plan:
Federal farm subsidies are already excessive, focused on only a handful of crops, and mostly go to farmers in a few states,â€ he said. â€œOver the past 10 years, farm subsidies have gone to just one out of three farmers with six percent of farms receiving more than 70 percent of that money â€“ $120 billion.
â€œAdding â€˜permanent disaster assistanceâ€™ only adds to this egregious system, targeting certain crops.â€
Lugar has proposed a different approach: a combination of federally backed insurance and tax deferred savings accounts for farmers.
â€œAll farmers could participate regardless of crop or animal raised,â€ he said. â€œThis would be a more than adequate safety net at much less taxpayer expense, particularly given the changes that are occurring from biofuels production and economies of scale.â€
We spend a ton of money on a pretty messed up farm system. Want smaller government? Farm welfare might be a rational first target, though politically it seems pretty impossible.
Lesley Stedman Weidenbener has an article on the SCHIP federal children’s health plan that President Bush has said he will veto. The article reports on a study that indicates Kentucky and Indiana will pay in more money than will be distributed to those states under the program. This is because the two states have very high smoking rates and, Indiana at least, has a modest children’s health care plan. So, Indiana’s smokers will pay in a lot because the program taxes smokers and the state won’t get back as much as the smokers pay in because the State has set up a health care program for children that is relatively limited compared to those set up by other states.
I ran across a couple of items about health care and politics this morning. Close to home, Blue Indiana and Sylvia Smith highlight the dishonesty of President Bush and Mark Souder in their opposition of the bill to provide health care to children (also opposed by Baron Hill, Steve Buyer, Dan Burton, and Mike Pence). Bush and his parrots are pushing the line that the bill would pay for health care for children of families making $83,000 per year. That figure is just flat not true. But, I guess they have to grasp at straws to explain opposition to providing health care to children when their failed policies in Iraq are costing taxpayers $2 to $3 billion per week.
Dark Syde at Daily Kos has a post about the decreasing effectiveness of the rhetoric of those who oppose national universal health care.
And the scare tactics used to deprive us of decent, affordable medical insurance time and time again? Well, those old gray talking points ainâ€™t what they used to be …
Universal Healthcare means waiting in line for rationed, life-saving treatment!
Do people who spout this crap truly believe that anyone is buying it any more? Weâ€™re waiting in line now and everyone knows it.
Indiana gets a stop on Mark Morford’s Great American Hypocrisy Tour.
First stop – Colorado and Ted Haggard’s anti-gay rants coupled with male prostitutes and crystal meth.
Second stop – A toe-tapping good time at Larry “Wide Stance” Craig’s airport bathroom of shame.
Third stop – Florida and Mark Foley’s hot-intern-chat laptop. Florida is a twofer because you also get a stop at Rep. Bob Allen’s public restroom (another public restroom) where he had to offer to blow the burly black undercover cop because he didn’t want to “become a statistic.” (Too many viewings of “Reefer Madness” perhaps.)
Quick as a hasty Republican cover-up, we’ll hop on the bus and zip back up to Jefferson, Ind., where we will cruise very, very slowly by the all-American home where burgeoning young hypocrite Glenn Murphy, Jr., former chairman of the Young Republicans and one of the GOP’s rising stars, performed what turned out to be his second reported act of non-consensual fellatio on a fellow YR who just so happened to be asleep at the time. Wacky!
If you like, your sullen teenager can lie down on the floor and pretend to be drunk and asleep, and one of our travel facilitators will carefully undo his pants and pretend to give him oral sex! Time your snapshots just right as your teen “wakes up” in horror and shoves “Murphy” away and realizes what a sham both their lives really are! What a terrific scrapbook this will make. Great for Facebook, too!
Other tour stops available.
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you probably heard something about Indiana’s Voter ID law being headed to the United States Supreme Court.
Indiana has the strictest voter ID law in the country. If we cut through the crap and the posturing, the issue is basically this – the Republicans who passed this law want to suppress voter turnout in the populations who might have trouble producing an ID – those people are more likely to vote for Democrats. The pretext for the law is that it is necessary to combat voter fraud. However, there is no evidence that any such voter fraud was a problem. In fact, where there has been some problem with voter fraud — absentee voting — the General Assembly didn’t take any action. Absentee voters tend to vote Republican, not coincidentally.
Democrats oppose the Voter ID challenge, not necessarily out of any inherent sense of righteousness about the right to vote (though many individual Democrats I’m sure feel that way), but more practically because this law is more likely to reduce the number of votes they get. For whatever reason, the populations who are most distrustful of government documents and who are less sophisticated about obtaining and retaining documentation are more likely to vote for Democrats. Some of this is theoretical, there isn’t apparently hard evidence about how many people are discouraged from voting because of the additional bureaucracy imposed on their right to vote.
So, the question is (in my mind) first, who should have the burden of proof — should the proponents have to prove that this additional bit of red-tape corrects an actual problem? Or, should the opponents have to prove that the additional bit of red-tape actually hurts anybody? I’d go with the first option. When the government chooses to interfere with a Constitutional right, it ought to show that the interference is necessary to correct an actual (rather than theoretical) problem and as minimally burdensome as possible to fix the problem.
But, nobody has appointed me to a court, so my opinion isn’t worth that much.
Despite decades on Eastern Daylight Time (sorry, couldn’t resist), our neighbors to the North seem to be having some trouble. Michigan lawmakers are at an impasse that might result in a government shut down. The issue seems to be this. The Democratic Governor Granholm is fighting red-ink Republicanism, unwilling to spend money the government doesn’t have. The Republican Senate is unwilling to raise taxes. Neither side is apparently willing to specify cuts necessary to balance the budget.
Granholm said that if an agreement cannot be reached today, she will provide details today about what services will be maintained and what will be suspended. On Wednesday she said that the three Detroit casinos will close at midnight Sunday and Lottery sales will be suspended. Additionally, she said liquor distribution to bars and stores would cease, state parks and welcome centers and Secretary of State branch offices would close.
Bob Moser, writing for the Nation, has an article entitled Purple America. The article takes a look at some of the effects of Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy” as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In the past, as I recall, this has put him at odds with other members of the Democratic Party, notably Democratic Leadership Council members.
In just two years, the belated catch-up effort has paid off in at least two tangible ways: It has exponentially multiplied grassroots party involvement and–in a short-term benefit not even envisioned by its architects–has helped win an impressive number of state, local and Congressional elections in majority-Republican regions. That’s not to mention the intangible benefits of fanning out 180 Democratic organizers, fundraisers and communications specialists across the map, many of them working in places like western North Carolina, where, as one local activist puts it, “a lot of Democrats think of the national party as the devil itself.” As the chair of the most overwhelmingly Republican of states, Utah’s Wayne Holland, wrote last year, “Democrats have become outsiders who do things to us, not insiders who do things for us. The fifty-state strategy is one way to turn it around.”
. . .
Dean’s analysis ran contrary to the entrenched interests of those who had long run the DNC, Matt Bai wrote last year in The New York Times Magazine, as “essentially a service organization for a few hundred wealthy donors, who treated it like their private political club.” Also being served at this “club” were Congressional leaders who had risen with help from the old DNC. And then there were the big-ticket consultants, the James Carvilles and Paul Begalas, who had shot to fortune and fame with their image-driven, big-media Bill Clinton campaigns, their pricey polling data and “strategic targeting.”
. . .
“If you make your living buying and making TV ads, then you’re not really very wild about a change in technology that says, Let’s hire organizers,” says Kamarck. “The whole political-consultant industry has been built on ads. But with cable TV and the diffusion of media, what the hell good is an ad? The fifty-state strategy takes a generation of consultants and kind of says, Let’s put you out to pasture.”
. . .
Clearly, this state of affairs cried out for some well-placed media smears and strong-arm tactics. In March 2006 House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader-to-be Harry Reid met with the miscreant from Vermont and, according to the Washington Post, “complained about Dean’s priorities.” To little avail. In May DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel and DSCC honcho Chuck Schumer had a similar contretemps with Dean, ending with Emanuel reportedly storming out with “a trail of expletives.” And on CNN, Clinton consultant and longtime Democratic strategist Paul Begala tartly mouthed the insiders’ consensus. “He says it’s a long-term strategy. But what he has spent it on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose.”