Posts Tagged ‘Republican’


Mike Lee of utah - one of a number of tea Party representatives facing an uncertain future

Mike Lee of utah – one of a number of tea Party representatives facing an uncertain future


Fascinating article on Bloomberg making the same case that we have been making for some time that the grassroots Republican Party, and its central establishment, faced with increasing irrelevance, will turn on its recently-minted hard-right, Tea Party-supported Senators and Congresspeople.

The article is fair and reasonable as it nevertheless draws a bead on the Tea Party reps. As with this paragraph:

The meltdown on Capitol Hill doesn’t mean the end of the Tea Party. In fact, most of those lawmakers accurately point out that they are doing what the constituents in their painfully drawn, one-sided, overwhelmingly white, aging, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, science-denying districts want. Still, there are emerging signs — from declining poll numbers to the breach with the Republican Party’s traditional business allies — that the act is getting old. Mess with Democratic totems such as Social Security and nutritional programs for pregnant mothers, send Sarah Palin to Washington periodically to pour salt on open wounds, but don’t mess with Treasury bills and the markets.

We believe the article captures a key issue: the alarm felt in the business community, locally in the US and worldwide, at the prospect of an American default. In simple terms, those who recognise the scale of the looming disaster seem to be saying ‘this far and no further”.

What is interesting now is what will happen to Tea Party lawmakers in 2014 and in pre-selections/primaries.

One case the article singles out is:

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a Tea Party darling since his surprising defeat in 2010 of Robert Bennett, a beloved conservative senator. He’s become sidekick to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, chiming in during the recent filibuster about a childhood accident and his dream of being a pirate.

Lee is one of the new lawmakers who have been dubbed “wacko birds” by Senator John McCain of Arizona. Karl Rove said Lee’s scorched-earth strategy was “the one tactic that might be able to guarantee that the Democrats pick up seats in the Congress in 2014.” Even Lee’s friend and Capitol Hill roommate, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, refused to back his plan to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Lee’s favorable rating has dropped 10 percentage points since a June Brigham Young University poll, which – important note – doesn’t skew liberal. More than half of Utah voters see him unfavorably; 57 percent said he should be more willing to compromise. In a separate survey, a majority of Utah voters now disapprove of the Tea Party’s influence.”

Josh Romney

Josh Romney

What makes this particular seat really interesting is that Lee will be challenged from his left. And fascinatingly, Josh Romney is one of the options waiting in the wings. Back in June the telegenic son of former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said in an interview with KSL that he wouldn’t rule out a potential run for office in the future.

“I’m not ruling anything in or out,” Romney told the Salt Lake City station. “But obviously, having spent the last couple of years on the political trail, it’s hard to give all that up.”

He continued, “I haven’t made any decisions on anything like that … I’m just really focused on my family and work right now and not looking at any particular office.”

Even if Lee survives a primary contest, there’s an excellent chance that Democratic Representative Jim Matheson — who’s been gerrymandered into unwinnable districts twice but still wins — could win a statewide race in the reddest state in the country.

Utah Republicans have been heading toward buyer’s remorse for some time. At last year’s convention in Salt Lake City, a robust 125,000 Republicans turned out. This was a reaction to the 2010 convention, when 50,000 Tea Party activists took over and eliminated Bennett in favor of Lee. By 2012, the establishment was back in charge, and Bennett got a long and loud standing ovation. At that same convention, Senator Orrin Hatch easily won the nomination and re-election.”

94bMeanwhile, the political ambitions of Mitt Romney’s son have long been an open secret.

One of the funniest moments of the 2012 election was when he became the unwitting star of a short-lived by amusing satirical meme that sprang from his intense look of concentration – well, that’s the polite way of describing it – while watching President Obama make mincemeat of his Dad in the second Presidential debate.

If Romney the Younger gets up in Utah, no doubt the meme will be revivified. Which is slightly unfair, as the man himself seems like a perfectly respectable, mainstream GOP type, and not at all like the menacing lunatic of one unfortunate photo. Still, such are the joys of public life, especially in America. No doubt he’ll laugh it off.



For some weeks now, we have been predicting that the blame for the US Government shutdown – and any future debt default – will be laid squarely at the feet of the Republicans, and it is only because they are living in their own very badly advised bubble (just as they were at the last Presidential election) that they cannot see the approaching disaster that their behaviour is creating.

This article on recent poll results makes it very clear. Undeniable.

tea party childNo one in their right mind would want to see America become, in effect, a one party state. But that’s the way they’re headed, unless someone in the Republican leaderships starts to bang a few heads together and show some foresight – starting with isolating and ignoring the Tea Party representatives in their midst.

Will the GOP listen before it’s too late? I doubt it.

By Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog
Wed Oct 9, 2013 3:14 PM EDT

Have congressional Republicans been unpopular before? Yes. Have they been this unpopular? Not in recent memory.


This Gallup chart shows the parties’ favourability ratings over the last 21 years, and you’ll notice that sharp drop on the right side of the image. That shows GOP support falling off a cliff.

Republicans were deeply unpopular during the impeachment crisis in late 1998, but they’re in even worse shape now. Indeed, the angle that surprised me was comparing Republican favourability now to the party’s standing the last time GOP lawmakers shut down the government — they’re faring much worse in 2013.



And this is the image showing unfavourable ratings. Note, dislike for Republicans was also very strong at the end of the Bush/Cheney era, but once again, it’s worse now.

It’s obvious from the results that Democrats aren’t winning any popularity contests, but you don’t need to be a professional pollster to see which party is in better shape.

As for whether there are any practical consequences for poll results like these, I think there are.

The 2014 midterms are still a year away, and the prevailing political winds are bound to change direction – more than once – between now and then. What’s more, many Republican districts have been shielded from a voter backlash by gerrymandering.

But when one party’s public standing reaches a generational low – as opposed to, say, a minor downturn – it’s bound to have an effect. For one thing, it matters to the parties’ recruiting efforts, and there’s already some evidence to bolster this point. For another, it affects fundraising, and we’ve seen anecdotal evidence on this front, too.

What’s more, it starts to create a ceiling of sorts. As Republican popularity reaches new depths, it becomes that much more difficult to recover. If the GOP were to somehow add another 10 points to its favorability rating, it’d still be in horrible shape — and there’s nothing to suggest a 10-point boost is on the horizon.

It’s far too early for serious speculation about the midterms, but if Republicans are trying to position themselves for major setbacks in the next cycle, they’re off to an excellent start.

Can you say "Delusional"?

Can you say “Delusional”?

Yes, we know we sound like a cracked record. We keep blathering on about the fact that the GOP is living in cloud cuckoo land.

But as far as we are concerned, the collapse of one half of America’s political system into internal civil war, the result of which is holding the whole of Congress and government to ransom, not to mention costing a small fortune and throwing innumerable people out of work, is genuinely worrying.

Here’s another example. Two of the most senior Republicans talking utter, patent nonsense to each other, caught on a so-called “Hot mic”. Rachel Maddow’s comments on the incident are a short, telling, and utterly required read.

You can either watch this very revealing video over at Rachel Maddow’s site, or here.

And before someone says, “What’s it got to do with Australia?” the simple answer is “If the Americans don’t get back to governing themselves, and especially if they don’t agree a new debt ceiling and damned fast, they may default on their borrowing and usher in a Global Financial Crisis that would make the last one look like a bloody tea party.” Pun intended.

The only good that will come of all this nonsense is that as the weeks and months pass, it will become increasingly clear to Americans both that Obamacare is actually a great reform – flawed, but a huge step forward – and at the same time that the Republicans are really going slightly barmy, refusing to accept a bill that was been freely passed three years ago, the implementation of which an election was (emphatically) won on, and which the Supreme Court (packed with Conservatives, by the way) has said is legal.

These factors combined may clean the worst of the right wing loonies out of the GOP, starting with the mid-terms in 2014.

Let’s just hope we still have a world economy by then.



“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”

Dwight Eisenhower, speaking to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

In my opinion, American defence spending is bloated beyond belief, beyond anything necessary to fulfil either a defensive or offensive role in the world, and this is the result of an active and ongoing conspiracy between corrupt politicians (perhaps I should say, a corrupted political system) and the military-industrial complex.

Remember, American defence spending is greater than ALL of the next ten biggest defence budgets in the world, and that includes Russia and China.

And who pays for this? American taxpayers.

The role of the military-industrial complex is hardly new - as this 19th century cartoon exemplifies. Isn't it time we really tackled it?

The role of the military-industrial complex is hardly new – as this 19th century cartoon exemplifies. Isn’t it time we really tackled it? Over to you, taxpayers.

See, I cannot understand, for the life of me, why Americans – and especially those who detest taxes and Government waste of public money – do not rise up and demand that their defence budget is radically trimmed.

I cannot understand, for example, why Tea Party activists – almost universally anti excessive taxation – do not target defence spending first.

Just why is defence spending protected from cuts that are clearly necessary?

Why does the right wing demand defence spending be exempted from cuts?

Is it somehow a measurement or reflection of some deeply ingrained macho-psyche bullsh*t?

Is it merely that the political forces are so deep in their trenches that they cannot move from ossified positions?

Is it simply  that defence is a dog-whistle topic for the GOP base, and it’s better to try and make cuts to needed social security spending, despite the harm it causes, than to seek to educate their own supporters?

In which case, shame on them. And shame on the Democrats for letting them get away with it.

Yes, I understand that decisions about what items to cut are always complex … I have heard persuasive arguments from friends in the US Navy that they believe expenditure on capital ships has fallen to dangerously low levels. But I am talking here of the overall budget. Someone needs to get to it with a serious knife and cut deep, hard and long. It’s time.

There is another good reason for America to get it’s defence spending under control. Without excess (and excessive) forces, they will be less inclined to engage in military adventures overseas that are both morally and legally dubious. Iraq – and the 500,000 subsequent dead – would never have happened. And Afghanistan, in the absence of Iraq, would have been a two year event, and a much more likely success, rather than the morass it has become.

So – it’s over to you, American taxpayers. We are all relying on you. Are you really happy with the way things are going?

Feel free to cut and paste this on your Facebook page, blog, etc

Feel free to cut and paste this on your Facebook page, blog, etc. It is from the excellent “Ethical Reporters Against Faux News” Facebook page, a source of regular facts that need to be known.

Yes, before someone upbraids me, I know US military spending IS tipped to fall. From $638 billion this year to $538 billion by 2020.

But it’s not enough. And anyway, if pressure is not kept on, who says if that goal will be met?

Do I think it is beyond the wit and wisdom of Washington insiders to dream up another false-flag reason to suddenly ramp up spending again?

No. Sadly, I do not. Do you?

Oh, and Ike? He was a Republican. The type of moderate, thoughtful Republican that doesn’t seem to exist any more, more’s the pity. He was hawkish against communism, expanded America’s nuclear arsenal, but also launched the Interstate Highway System; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which led to the internet, among many invaluable outputs; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), driving peaceful discovery in space; the establishment of strong science education via the National Defense Education Act; and encouraging peaceful use of nuclear power via amendments to the Atomic Energy Act.

In social policy, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools. He also signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote. He implemented desegregation of the armed forces in two years and made five appointments to the Supreme Court. He was no captive of extremists – he actively and adroitly condemned the excesses of McCarthyism without upsetting his own right wing – in marked contrast to the current leadership of the GOP, he articulated his position as a moderate, progressive Republican: “I have just one purpose … and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right wing wants a fight, they are going to get it … before I end up, either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won’t be with them anymore.”

He was a talented politician. He prevented the GOP from collapsing into extreme-right irrelevance, and became, in doing so, wildly popular with both Democrats, independents and Republicans.

In summary, Eisenhower’s two terms were peaceful and productive ones for the most part and saw considerable economic prosperity except for a sharp recession in 1958–59.

So why was Eisenhower so chary of military spending?

Further comment superfluous.

Further comment superfluous.

Perhaps it was because, unlike most politicians today, he had actually witnessed the effects of that spending at first hand.

Not just the theft from those who needed the money spent on them, but also the carnage that war let loose really entails.

He walked the beaches after D Day.

He had ordered into battle legions that he knew would suffer 50%, 60%, 75% casualties.

He spoke with those men, face to face, hours before they left for France, knowing that most were just hours from dismemberment, disablement, or a  grisly death.

For him, every bullet fired, on both sides, was a disaster. But that understanding did not prevent him being one of the greatest military commanders in history.

And it didn’t stop him being a Republican.

 rape victims

“I can’t say it’s your own fault any more, so we’ll blame it on God.”

The following article, from the excellent Emily Hauser, argues quite correctly that this Republican politician has done the world, and America voters, a great service.

From Todd Aiken to here is a straight line. Because here, for once, unambiguously, is the argument laid out for all to see. And that argument is: if you get raped, and you get pregnant, then it is what God intended, and you are honour-bound to carry that child to term and give birth. (No word yet on whether God intended you to bring the child up as well.)

This is nothing new: the recent kerfuffle in the news about Todd Akin was simply because he said out loud what he and his colleagues think but aren’t supposed to say.  Todd Akin simply said out loud what his voting record and the voting record of his conservative colleagues  showed for years.  Three weeks before he walked straight into a shit-storm 203 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to prohibit abortions even in cases of rape or incest. And earlier this year the Republican party didn’t want to extend funding of $455 million a year for rape crisis centers that already are being funded on the books.  They felt it was excessive use of government spending and an over-reach in the size of the federal government (source); it only passed when the Republican leadership said that this would damage the GOP politically.

And in February of this year – Fox News said the Pentagon was spending too much money to defend women soldiers from rape (source) even though a woman soldier is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire (source).

Well, turning to this story, I have a degree in Theology, I am a democrat (note the small D, despite my feelings about this particular election), and I am a man.

On all three counts, I respect this man’s right to express his point of view.

But I also unalterably and completely reject his nonsense as yet another product of the Neanderthal extremist hyper-religious right in America, typified by lunatic old neo-fascists masquerading as Roman Catholic archbishops, raving “pastors” of mainly Southern extreme Protestant cliques, and all the rest of the literalistic fundamentalist Christians that America delights in nurturing.

Just let’s consider this argument carefully. ” Rape is something God intended to happen.”

Apart from how I feel that insults God, it’s only a very small step from that complete abrogation and abnegation of intellectual responsibility to argue that “Slavery is something God intended to happen.”  Or “the Holocaust is something God intended to happen.”

The inevitable result of blaming everything on God is we don’t NEED to improve the world ourselves. Well, we can try, of course, but if we happen to fail, well, fuck it – it’s God’s will that we fail, and we can all just accept the consequences.

My dear old Mother would have had a response to that. She would have said, in her delightful Welsh brogue, ” Well, Stephen, God helps those who help themselves.” Meaning, not that we are all supposed to become uber-rich by asset stripping companies, but that God does not, in fact, carefully orchestrate every lifetime moment of every human being on the planet, and he looks to us to look after not only the planet, but ourselves, and our societies.

Hell yes there’s a reason to vote for Obama in this election, and it is to keep nut-cases like this guy and his comrades out of power. And out of your bedroom, and out of your bodies.

Women of America: don’t say you weren’t warned …

Romney/Ryan, abortion, and the humanity of women. (And church and state, too).

Yesterday I had the honor of being on a panel with Daniel Ellsberg on HuffPost Live, and the good fortune to be given the opportunity to talk about how, in fact, the little matter of which party sits in the White House is hugely important to American women, because there’s one party that treats 50% of this nation’s citizens as autonomous people, and one party that doesn’t.

Then a little later in the day, this was reported:

Defending his stance that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape, [Indiana Treasurer/candidate for US Senate Richard] Mourdock explained that pregnancy resulting from non-consensual sex is the will of God.

“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

And I honestly found it refreshing. Because Richard Mourdock said, out loud and for all to hear, that which so many of these anti-choice culture warriors carry in their hearts: This is God’s will, and if you abort any pregnancy, regardless of its provenance, you are acting to thwart the Almighty Himself.

This isn’t about compassion for the poor witless woman who might not know what she’s missing out on if you don’t force her to undergo state-sanctioned rape in the form of a trans-vaginal ultrasound; this isn’t even, really, about human life. This is about the will of God, and the belief held by a great many people that humans are required to bend to that will — and that for women, there’s a lot more will to go around:

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man…. [A man] the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 1 Corinthians 11:3 & 7

To be clear: There are millions upon millions of Christians who have grappled with verses like those I’ve just quoted and come to an understanding of their faith and Scripture that support women’s equality and our right to bodily autonomy. (And just to be clearer still: I believe that all modern-day monotheism, including my own, requires this kind of grappling, because none of our Scriptures are without ugliness).

But the Christians standing at the head of the American right wing are not that kind of Christian, and they’re the ones we’re facing.

God is above man, and man is above woman. If you were raped, that’s not cool (in no small part because rape is equated with sex, and a woman’s sexuality belongs to the man she married/will marry), but if that rape made you pregnant? Well, that’s what God wanted. And women who attempt to thwart God’s will are not only making God really really mad, they are upsetting the natural order of things, and that cannot be allowed.

I think it’s helpful to be told flat-out that this is what we’re battling. Many anti-choice activists may honestly believe that they’re acting to protect children (though I might argue that if they really want to protect children, they might consider the needs of the fetus after it becomes a baby, but I digress), but leaders of the anti-choice movement are acting to protect what they know to be the Divine order.

But I live in a secular nation. I live in a country where the separation of church and state is written into law. I live in a place where your knowledge of the Divine order should have absolutely no legal bearing on my life.

There is one party that agrees with that notion, and one party — the vice-presidential candidate of which stands behind some of the most extreme anti-choice bills on the American scene – that does not.

One party that is working — however fitfully, however imperfectly — to protect the right of half of this country’s citizens to be legally recognized as humans with autonomy over their own bodies, and one party working to declare zygotes legal people, to require physicians to lie to patients about the established medical facts of abortion, and to allow hospitals to deny abortions to women even when their lives are in immediate danger.

This is not about the medical procedure called “abortion.” This is about the separation of church and state, and it is about allowing women to be human.

Don’t tell me the parties are the same. 

Update: Mitt Romney taped an endorsement for Mourdock on Monday, but his campaign told TPM yesterday that Mourdock’s views do not reflect Romney’s. And yet for all that, the campaign has said today that it has not asked Mourdock to pull the ad. So.

There’s that.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

President Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the really interesting things about this US election is that the Democrat convention follows directly on the back of the Republican one, which is unusual in modern times.

That’s because the standing bounce – or increase – expected in a party’s support after a party convention is about 5%.

And in order to be competitive in November, Romney really needs that bounce. Whilst there has been some small movement towards the GOP in recent weeks (which frankly is more reflective of a generalised disinterest in either candidate or party), he is a man badly in need of the “Big Mo”.

To win, he has to look like a winner, or at very least, a real contender.

Why? Simply because it’s a well known fact that, in America as elsewhere, people like to vote on the winning side. Enough people want to be part of the winning tribe that they can tip a close election decisively one way or the other.

That’s why pro-GOP outlets like Fox News constantly talk up Romney’s chances. They need to convince people he has them. Sadly for them and the GOP, they are largely singing to their own choir.

Shoring up votes you already have may feel good, but ultimately it’s largely pointless. What matters is what the relatively few (certainly less than 10%, nearer 4-6%) of uncommitted or undecided voters think.

That’s why the convention bounce is important, especially as the GOP are already predicting that Obama will wipe the floor with Romney in the debates – so that when he does, as is likely, the negative impact of their candidate looking wooden and uninformed is lessened.

Republican convention audience

Not exactly a critical audience, really. White, middle class, committed. Talking to the whole country is more tricky.

A convention gives a candidate a chance to present his case unchallenged by any embarrassing contradiction. So if you can’t get a bounce from the TV viewing audience when everyone in the hall is supposed to love you to bits before you even say “Hello”, you’re in real trouble.

The proximity of the Democrat convention in the key swing state of North Carolina, coming right on the heels of the Republican gabfest, and wielding their biggest vote catcher – which is Obama’s ability as a public orator, and his essential likeability – may well blunt Romney’s much-needed boost in support. The water-cooler attention will swing more rapidly than usually to the Presidential incumbent, reducing the required froth and bubble chatter about the GOP. And in modern politics, invisibility is death.

It also doesn’t help that the most talked about event at the Republican convention became a tired old actor chatting to an empty chair.

It’s not that Romney is unpopular with his own Republican supporters – which he he is – they think he’s not conservative enough, not radical right enough, not Christian enough, not middle class enough, not exciting enough – but that doesn’t really matter because Republicans have reluctantly decided to back him as their best and only hope after an execrable, dragged out selection process. They will hold their nose and vote for him because they detest Obama.

What matters is that without a swing to him of about 5% coming essentially from the political centre then Romney will never get to where he needs to be in key swing states like Ohio, NC, and elsewhere.

It has become popular amongst the chattering commentariat to average opinion polls over a period of time to arrive at a rolling view of where the electorate is at.

This can be helpful in portraying trends, but is less useful as a snapshot, as voter opinion can change rapidly.

Wellthisiswhatithink has been noticing a small move towards the Republicans as Romney’s name recognition and prime time coverage has grown, and as people focus a little more on the imminence of the poll. And as rolling “averaging” polls drop off individual polls taken approximately a month ago (when Obama had just enjoyed a small bump upwards) – and as there must be some sort of bounce during the Republican convention itself last week – then I expect to see a small increase in the GOP’s position in rolling polls released over the next few days.

Two rolling polls released today show the candidates essentially neck and neck, certainly within the margin of error, one going for Romney by three points, one for Obama by a point. I expect to see more of those coming out towards the end of this week and showing Romney with a small lead, and the GOP will frantically do all they can to solidify that impression as a counter to the coverage of the DNC.

However, bounces can be illusory.

There’s a special sort of bounce. It’s usually applied to expectations of economic recovery that look overly optimistic. It’s also applied to political hopefuls.

Falling cat

“I don’t have a good feeling about this. How many lives was that again?”

It’s called a “dead cat bounce”. That’s the extent to which a cat, thrown off a roof, will bounce on hitting the ground head first.

The answer is, of course, even under the most propitious circumstances, not much.

That’s what I expect for Mitt Romney from the GOP convention. A dead cat bounce. The polls we should really keep our eyes on are the polls, especially the rolling polls, released about 7-14 days from today, say anytime from around 14th September onwards. In a world where the electorate has the attention span of a gnat, these will then factor in not only Obama’s expected professional performance in Charlotte – and, critically, Bill Clinton’s performance, still by some distance the most popular politician in America – but also the general froth and bubble that will swell up and about the DNC, which, unlike the RNC, will probably have little hard political news distracting from it.

I expect Obama to move into the lead – consistently – by mid-September, and I expect him to stay there. I expect him to win the election, more narrowly than he did against McCain, but win it nevertheless.

You heard it here first.

(Incidentally, Dear Reader, in researching this article, your humble scribe spent three hours watching Fox News Channel to be sure he had a suitable amount of GOP content in his head so that the article would be balanced and fair. Greater love hath no man.)

Debated an invisible President. And lost.

Comments welcome too.

The sort of nonsense that now passes for politics in America – the polarisation of civil debate in the USA is getting really quite frightening.

I reproduce this article from PoliticsUSA almost without further comment, (I can’t resist one aside further down) except to ask one simple question.

When you see the efforts to secure a conviction against Bradley Manning, and the extradition of Julian Assange, how come the Government in the States never does anything about these idiots? And how come Romney and the GOP leadership don’t condemn it?

But this is my main confusion. How is this not Treason?

The author of the Declaration of Independence is often quoted by opposing groups to support their own agenda, but there are few who accurately apply some of his oft-repeated statements. During the healthcare reform debate, angry teabaggers cited Jefferson’s line that “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing,” as proof that revolution against government tyranny was advocated by a Founding Father as an option in 2009, and that sentiment has not diminished three years later heading into a general election.

The groups claiming President Obama is a tyrannical leader have never given one example of tyranny, but they, with the GOP’s assistance, have whipped themselves into frenzy and openly called for armed insurrection against the United States government.  One may be inclined to excuse talk of rebellion as angry rhetoric from a fringe element in the tea party, but a Virginia Republican Committee newsletter* has called for armed revolution if President Obama is re-elected in November.

Thomas Jefferson

Dear old ThomJeff must be turning in his grave.

First, it is important to put Jefferson’s statement that “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing” in its proper context.  Jefferson was showing support for the French who were rebelling against the wealthy elite and church that was keeping the population poor and hungry. In fact, Jefferson hated the wealthy and their banks, and in the same letter to Edward Carrington wrote that “man is the only animal which devours his own kind, and I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”

 In the Virginia Republican Committee newsletter*, there is nothing to imply that protecting Americans from the “prey of the rich on the poor” is the reason for calling for armed rebellion. According to the newsletter*, President Obama, is a “political socialist ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized,” and that the only option is “armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November:” If one is confused as to what Republicans consider is a “political socialist ideologue,”  the newsletter claims President Obama “shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might,” and that under Obama, “the government is out of control, and this opportunity, must not be forsaken for we shall not have any coarse (sic) but armed revolution.

Republicans calling for armed insurrection against the government is nothing new, and few are apt to forget congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) sayingI want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back,” and went on to specifically cite Jefferson’s quote from 1787.  Bachmann continued that, “we the people are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country,” and encouraged Americans “to do everything we can to thwart the Democrats at every turn,” and apparently that included armed rebellion.

Another Republican, Sharon Angle, said in a radio interview that it may come to the point that the public would bring down an out-of-control Congress with “Second Amendment remedies.” Angle repeated her warning when she called for “Second Amendment remedies” to deal with the “ever-growing tyrannical U.S. government,” and to replace her election opponent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Conservative entertainers have spent no small amount of energy demonizing President Obama over the past three years and although their rants may be just publicity stunts, all it takes are a few crazy people with guns to take their tirades to heart and begin shooting. On Friday, country musician Hank Williams Jr. waited until the end of his show to impugn the President for being “a Muslim who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!” Williams incited the audience to cheer his invective not unlike washed-up rocker Ted Nugent who earned a visit from the Secret Service earlier this year for saying, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year” insinuating he will take matters into his own hands with gun play if the President wins re-election. At a 2008 concert, Nugent said while holding a gun in each hand, “Hey, Obama, you might wanna suck on one of these, you punk” and extended the threat to now-Secretary of State Clinton saying,  ”Hillary, you might wanna ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”

Throughout all of the violent rhetoric, there has not been any condemnation by leading Republicans, and after the Virginia Republican Committee newsletter, it is easy to see why. Apparently, they are serious about armed rebellion against the United States government with an African American man as President.

In fact, leading Republicans have been complicit in stirring up resentment against President Obama by accusing him of promoting “European-style socialism” and not being an American. Willard Romney and his campaign have used the “not an American” meme to portray the President as “not one of us” and “foreign to American principles.

All of the threats of armed revolution have as their basis one simple fact; the President is not a white man.

Republicans cannot condemn the President’s record of saving the economy, or creating over 4-million jobs despite Republican’s obstruction, or accuse him of being weak on defense, so they portray him as a foreigner who supplanted a “white man” who should be in the White House.

(Romney’s recent deliberate comment that Obama doesn’t quite “get” the special relationship with Britain – because, of course, by implication, he’s a black man – falls into this category in the opinion of Wellthisiswhatithink.)

The truth is that it does not matter which white man should be president, it just cannot be an African American, and if voters elect President Obama to a second term, they are seriously considering an armed rebellion.

Every Republican who has failed to condemn talk of armed revolution is just as guilty as those calling for “second amendment remedies” or imploring their constituents to be “armed and dangerous.” It is likely that Republican leaders are not serious about a civil war or revolution, but their approval is evident in their silence.

The Virginia Republican Committee newsletter* was published in March, and the media or Republican leadership have been silent, and regardless if they support the overthrow of the government if the President wins a second term or not, they are guilty of inciting rebellion by allowing their candidates, spokespersons, and members of Congress to openly call for armed rebellion against the government of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson did, indeed, say that revolution is sometimes necessary, but only against wealthy bankers “who prey on the poor” and religious leaders who have the full support of every Republican in the United States.

If the people were intelligent enough to actually read why Jefferson said rebellion is necessary, they would rise up and send the GOP to the only place they would be secure; counting their dirty money in their offshore tax havens.


I thank a correspondent – see comments – who has pointed out that although this story is near the truth it is not entirely accurate. The implication in the original PoliticsUSA story is arguably that it was the Virginia State GOP Committee newsletter that made the remarks. But that is clearly fallacious. The correct story is apparently as follows below.

I do not believe, however, that the correction changes the essential thrust of my article, which is that the polarisation of American politics, and I would say from my observation that this is especially true on the right, although by no means limited to it, is reaching frightening levels. However the story clearly requires the following caveat:

Greene County, Va., Republicans denounced a comment in their newsletter promoting “armed revolution” if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

The Greene County Republican Committee newsletter for March featured an editorial written by Ponch McPhee calling the November election a challenge to “remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed.”

“We shall not have any coarse (sic) but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November,” McPhee wrote. “This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.”

GCRC Chairman Gary E. Lowe says McPhee is no longer the editor of the newsletter, WJLA-TV, Washington, reported Thursday.

In a statement posted on the committee”s Web site, Lowe said the committee “denounces such language and does not subscribe to that thinking.” He said McPhee”s editorial had been written “before a change in the Greene County Republican Committee leadership.”

Lowe noted the newsletter carried a disclaimer that its content “does not reflect the opinion of the Republican Party whole or in part, all contents offered are individual” and said the editorial comment is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“While we believe this election is critical to the direction of the future of this great nation, we do not believe that if the results end up with the re-election of Barack Obama, that will necessitate what the author suggests,” Lowe wrote.

White House hopeful Mitt Romney has meticulously spelled out his vision for a better America while on the campaign trail this year. But in his new mobile app? Not so much.  The "With Mitt" application for the iPhone allows users to express support for the recently anointed Republican flagbearer by personalising a photo with an overlaid Romney slogan. Trouble is, one of the slogans had a howler of a spelling mistake: "A Better Amercia."  Members of the proofreading public recently made the discovery and it went viral on Twitter late on Tuesday in the US, with people mockingly tweeting photos showing the "Amercia" message.  "Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia," one user tweeted, in a reference to Romney's hard-to-live-down decision years ago to strap the family dog in its carrier on the roof of the car during a vacation.  More below Skip to top | bottom  Early on Wednesday, the app, promoted by official campaign website, had yet to be corrected, and new downloads contained the spelling error.  "Mistakes happen," Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC.  "I don't think any voter cares about a typo at the end of the day," she said, adding that an update had been sent to Apple.  Hours later, the company's app store was offering an updated version with the embarrassing mistake corrected.  More below Skip to top | bottom  The "With Mitt" download page offered version 1.0.1 which it said makes "bug fixes" to the app, but the change of note was the removal of the offending phrase.  The 2012 campaign has had its share of spelling gaffes.  Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman's presidential bid got off to a rocky start when his team handed out press passes at the inaugural campaign event for "John Huntsman", unnecessarily inserting an H into his first name.  And in March, red-faced aides to former senator Rick Santorum were forced to resend a corrected public schedule to reporters after they inadvertently mailed out "Santorum's Pubic Schedule".

Ooops. Photo: Reuters

Lest we misunderestimate him, using the marvellous Bushism, Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has meticulously spelled out his vision for a better America while on the campaign trail this year. But in his new mobile app? Not so much.

The “With Mitt” application for the iPhone allows users to express support for the recently anointed Republican flag bearer by personalising a photo with an overlaid Romney slogan. Trouble is, one of the slogans had a howler of a spelling mistake: “A Better Amercia.”

Amercia? Really?

Members of the proofreading public recently made the discovery and it went viral on Twitter late on Tuesday in the US, with people mockingly tweeting photos showing the “Amercia” message.

“Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia,” one user tweeted, in a reference to Romney’s hard-to-live-down decision years ago to strap the family dog in its carrier on the roof of the car during a vacation.

Early on Wednesday, the app, promoted by official campaign website, had yet to be corrected, and new downloads contained the spelling error.

“Mistakes happen,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC.

“I don’t think any voter cares about a typo at the end of the day,” she said, adding that an update had been sent to Apple. Hours later, the company’s app store was offering an updated version with the embarrassing mistake corrected.

The “With Mitt” download page offered version 1.0.1 which it said makes “bug fixes” to the app, but the change of note was the removal of the offending phrase.

The GOP’s 2012 campaign has had its share of embarrassing spelling gaffes.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s presidential bid got off to a rocky start when his team handed out press passes at the inaugural campaign event for “John Huntsman”, unnecessarily inserting an H into his first name. But much more embarrassingly, in March, red-faced aides to former senator Rick Santorum were forced to resend a corrected public schedule to reporters after they inadvertently mailed out “Santorum’s Pubic Schedule”.

As someone who has worked in communications for more than 25 years, I simply cannot understand how such mistakes happen. On the other hand, I did once run a double page spread for a client with the 70 point headline Oustanding Value. Interestingly it was a week before anyone noticed. So perhaps those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Luckily, the internet didn’t really exist back then.

So from here on in, Democrats can presumably be relied upon to gleefully murmur behind their hands that the problem with Romney isn’t that he’s a Mormon, more that he’s a moron … well, spelling wise, at least.

(Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald and others)

Brilliant website, and long overdue. Whatever your political point of view, if you value a reasoned debate running up to November, I urge you to have a look.


Wtf? Obama has a great record? Who knew?

I am not uncritical of Obama – by no means – I think his recent signing of a bill to restrict the right to demonstrate was a disgrace, and he has generally shown himself on occasions to have a poor and rather conservative understanding of the concept of liberty.

However, I feel his rapid and targeted response to America’s financial woes has been widely mis-represented and under-praised. I firmly believe his prompt and thorough response to GFC Mark 1 saved America from a complete financial collapse, and thus the rest of the world’s economy, and including since then under-writing much of the nonsense going on in Europe to prevent GFC Mark 2 really getting up a head of steam. And I believe he will whip either Romney or Santorum in the election.

I am on record as being very critical of the left and centre’s inability to present the achievements of the Administration with any verve or impact. This website starts to address that – so if you value the facts getting out there, so the free world can have an intelligent debate about who leads what is still the world’s most important economy, then pass it on!

This interesting website also goes to how much more effective Obama will be when he gets a chance to present his record in debate and on “the stump”.

That’s when you will see genuine popular enthusiasm begin to return to his position.

The other factor that we should focus on is the very poor turnout – again – in tonight’s Republican primaries – whatever else can be said, what is certain is that the GOP grassroots have no real enthusiasm for any of the candidates on offer. This will play very badly for them come November, wheoever they choose.

As Mississippi and Alabama reveal that the GOP is hopelessly split between the evangelical religious right and the more moderate business-focussed centre, those who think Santorum or Romney – or anyone else – can beat Obama have conveniently forgotten just how inspirational Obama can be in front of an audience.

And the fact that in a true sense America is a deeply conservative nation. It tends to vote for incumbents, of both parties. And I confidently expect it to do so again.

obama in church

Obviously a Muslim. You can tell. Aren't his eyes a bit too close together?

More than half – you heard that right, more than HALF – of likely Republican voters in Mississippi say they think President Barack Obama is a Muslim, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Fifty-two percent said that Obama practiced Islam, while just 12 percent said he was a Christian. Thirty-six percent said they were not – really – not sure.

Obama, whose father and stepfather both came from Muslim backgrounds, is, however, a practicing Christian and was a member of Trinity United Church in Chicago before he was president. Indeed, his membership of that Church was frequently criticised by – yes – Republicans, because of the nature of the sermons preached there.

The poll, conducted by telephone of 656 likely Republican voters in Mississippi on March 10 and 11, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

In Alabama, the same poll found that 45 percent of likely Republican voters believed Obama to be a Muslim and 14 percent said they considered him a Christian.

The group conducted the polling in advance of the Republican presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, which will be held on Tuesday.

On the left, an apparently typical southern Republican voter. On the right, an alien captured yesterday in Jackson, Mississippi. You be the judge.

Well, thinking about it, I think more than half of intending Republican voters in the deep south are obviously aliens.

I have no reason for believing this whatsoever, of course, just bigoted blind opinion, but I ask you to look at the evidence. I just think they clearly bear no relation to what I understand as even minimally educated adult humans.

Accordingly, I demand that they should all produce birth certificates before being allowed to vote. Before being allowed to leave home, unattended, actually. And those certificates should need to be stamped “tested: human”, not just identify where they’re from.

I repeat: I have no evidence for this point of view, but if I say it often enough, and with enough faux indignation, then obviously people will come to believe it.

Next week: your fearless reporter reveals the truth. “Rick Santorum is actually the anti-Christ”.*

*We have no evidence for this whatsoever, either, it’s just a really fun thought. Spread it around.

Meanwhile, in case any Republicans care to argue that Obama really is a Muslim, they might like to consider his words from 2007, regarding his enthusiasm for Christianity.

“Around this time that some pastors I was working with came up to me and asked if I was a member of a church. “If you’re organizing churches,” they said, “it might be helpful if you went to church once in a while.” And I thought, “Well, I guess that makes sense.”  

So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called “The Audacity of Hope.” And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.  

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.”

Barack Obama, June 23rd, 2007

republican candidates for president 2012

And then there were four. And four. And four ... Amazed it took them this long to get down to four from that lot of mugs. But even so, it may go on for some time yet.

So it’s Super Tuesday, when Romney would hope to deliver a knockout blow to the other three remaining candidates in the Republican primaries.

Here’s an excellent article by leading Democratic strategist Donna Brazile  on why the Republicans may continue to bloodlet for some time yet after tonight – especially as, as I notice now, the night kicks off with Gingrich having secured a win in Georgia, possibly vindicating his “southern states” focus, and Santorum has won Oklahoma with Gingrich neck and neck with Romney. Ohio seems split down the middle between Santorum and Romney. Santorum seems to have won Tennessee well, which would hurt Romney badly by making him look like just a “northern”candidate. It appears that Romney has also done poorly in Virginia and Vermont, despite winning the states.

So in all likelihood, no one is going to die tonight – except perhaps Ron Paul, and he never expected to win anything anyway – and he is only in the race to force his libetarian philosophy to the centre of the GOP’s deliberations. Or as Wolf Blitzer has just remarked on CNN some hours after I originally posted this article “This race is going to go on, and on, and on.”

Given that Donna is coming from a particular political perspective, and that the article was published on CNN which the right loves to hate – so some degree of bias is present, obviously – nevertheless her nous in these matters is impressive, and I suspect she is spot on in her analysis.

What is most telling, I feel, is the points she makes about grassroots Republicans not warming to any of their very poor group of candidates – the stuff about turnouts which I have been noticing for some time now – and just makes me even more certain Obama will be re-elected in November. It is fearsomely difficult to unseat incumbents at the best of times, and these are definitely not the best of times for Republicans, despite America’s ongoing financial difficulties. The simple fact is, the people are not stupid. Not book-learned, perhaps, but not stupid. They know this bunch of GOP candidates is fearsomely unimpressive, and they will stick with a President who’s first term has been very much a curate’s egg, albeit unenthusiastically.

Although this is a long shot, and I haven’t seen it suggested elsewhere,I am still not sure that yet another Republican candidate may still arise, at an unenthusiastic or deadlocked convention, for example, before this circus is all done … and the thought of Paul, Palin, Perry, Gingrich and Santorum and others trying to agree on who to be kingmaker for is hilarious …

Certainly the American people deserve better than the choice they are being offered at the moment – just as Australians deserve better than the “hold your nose” choice between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.

Article begins:

It’s probably better to be the default candidate than the noncandidate, but it’s a position that usually has too many gaps to fill. That seems to be the position of Mitt Romney, and it says a lot about the current state of the Republican Party.

When the Seattle Times came out for Romney ahead of the Washington caucus, the editors stopped short of a real endorsement, calling him the “practical choice” and “the only option in a weak field.” They wrote that he “does not excite voters and is a suspect choice, except for all the others.”

Several candidates created political earthquakes, only to sink beneath their own aftershocks. One might argue that Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry represented the usual “froth” that appears every four years, and now the Republican Party has gotten down to the serious business of nominating a candidate. But the track records of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum suggest otherwise.

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

Of the three remaining candidates, Santorum had the best chance to make a run at Romney. He’s emerged as the strongest anti-Romney choice. But Santorum has problems other than what may be called a narrow appeal. (He does best among the evangelical Christians, the less-educated and rural voters, which do not not even constitute a majority of Republicans.) On Super Tuesday, Santorum may lose more than a quarter of the delegates in Ohio even if he wins, because he didn’t file full delegate slates in all 16 congressional districts.

But as long as some billionaire is paying the bills — and pulling the strings — a candidate can and will stay in the race. Sheldon Adelson has propped up Newt Gingrich. Peter Thiel supports Ron Paul, and Santorum’s got “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” billionaire Foster Friess.

The Republican nomination may go to the highest bidder. Romney’s spent almost as much as Gingrich, Paul and Santorum combined. But in some ways the process seems more like a circus than an auction — or a poorly rehearsed skit of “Who’s on first?”

Of the 13 states that have chosen delegates, there’s been a counting controversy in two of them. (Of course, when it comes to counting votes, the Republicans have perfected the “fuzzy math” approach.) Iowa flipped from Romney to Santorum, and Maine is going to recount its votes. Romney had to scramble to win Michigan, his home state, which should have been a no-brainer. And probably was.

If this race stays close into the late spring, the candidates will look for reasons to raise questions about how delegates are being allocated and counted. Such confusion calls into question their competency. If the Republicans can’t trust themselves to count to 1,144 — the number of delegates needed to with the nomination — without messing up the numbers, how can the country trust them to honestly manage bigger numbers?

This brings us back to Romney, the apparent nominee-by-default. He’s the leading candidate, and the Republicans just aren’t excited. GOP turnout has dropped in five of the 13 states that have voted. (Colorado dropped 6%, Missouri 57%; Florida, Nevada and Minnesota dropped in double digits.) Compared with four years ago, Romney’s numbers dropped in six of the 13 states (only 1% in Iowa but 46% in Colorado, 63% in Missouri and 68% in Minnesota). Ironically, the only state with a significant increase in GOP turnout was South Carolina, where Republicans voted against Romney in a landslide: He got just 28% of the vote.

GOP turnout in 2012 is even worse when compared with Democratic primary turnout in 2008, despite population growth. Except for South Carolina, turnout is lower in every state that has voted — and by significant numbers. Turnout is down by 69% in Missouri, 72% in Nevada, 77% in Minnesota and 86% in Maine. In those four states combined, the average drop of turnout is more than 75%. Those numbers don’t bode well for the nominee or the party, no matter how much fuzzy math they use come November.

One reason for GOP indifference may be, ironically, Romney’s strength: He’s a fighter. But he fights with negatives. While he succeeds in soiling his opponents, he also sullies himself. He has a very high unfavorable rating among independents, and even among Republicans he doesn’t match where John McCain was at this point four years ago. When Romney’s not negative, he appears unfocused and becomes like a gaffe machine on steroids: “Cadillacs,” “Blunt amendment,” “firing people,” “not worried about the poor,” etc.

So what’s ahead? A desperate race and a war of attrition. Santorum, Paul and Gingrich have no incentive to exit the race, because they’re being paid to stay in and they’re getting just enough delegates. Therefore, what we’ve seen is what we’ll get: a negative arc; shrill attacks against other candidates; hysterical hyperventilation against Obama; the language of fear, war and doublespeak; and a social issue feeding frenzy, with fainting spells when women’s health is mentioned and panic over immigration. And the media lapping it up.

It’s going to be a long, hot spring.

Fox News

I get so irritated with the smug, self-satisfied, careless commentary I see on this so-called News channel. And for Fox News, you could read the entire current field of Republican Party Presidential candidates, and a whole heap of commentators who should know better, too, who have all replaced incisive analysis and creative ideas with thoughtless dog-whistle popularism.

Former Republican heroes like Dwight D Eisenhower, who left Roosevelt’s New Deal pretty much intact, remember, must be turning in their graves at the current state of the American right.

For the record, and we should say it long and loud, poverty is not the fault of the Government, or of the poor. It is the fault of a system which is fundamentally unwieldy, that lurches from over-spending to under-spending, driven by fear and not rationalism, and also veers between mindless, greed-fuelled private credit expansion to a capital strike. (Oh yes, business and investors strike too, not just unions and workers.)

One thing and one thing alone will rescue America’s economic standing in the world, and that is innovation – like the innovation that led to the mass production of motor vehicles, or flight, or telecommunications, or advanced mining techniques, or the micro-chip, or intuitive computing – leading to enhanced trade in terms favourable to the US.

America needs to stop echoing past glories and knuckle down. And blaming the weakest in their society for the laziness and ineptitude of the strongest is not only cruel and unfair, it is pointless.

Innovation. Everything else – everything – is moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic.