Archive for category Political Corruption
I’ve been trying to make sense of the power grab by North Carolina Republicans.
The basic outline of their power grab is that having lost two key statewide races (governor and state supreme court), Republicans in North Carolina’s legislature, with the willing help of outgoing Republican governor McRory, passed laws to strip both the incoming governor and soon to be Democratic majority on the state’s Supreme Court of significant power.
Superficially, it’s a temper tantrum of monumental proportions. At a slightly deeper level, it’s an attack on established democratic institutions. You lose this time, I lose next time; if I try to screw you when I lose, you’re going try to do the same thing when you lose. It’s an offensive and brazen attempt to undermine the democratically determined outcome of the election. But it’s also the sort of behavior that invites such a huge backlash it seems self-defeating.
Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly highlighted a report from Media Matters, detailing the depth and breadth of the right’s bizarre Benghazi! obsession. Ed noted:
Short of gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Watergate hearings, I’m not sure we’ve seen anything quite like it in modern electronic media. And we wonder why in the strange alternative universe of the conservative movement, jabbering about Benghazi! is like discussing the weather.
From the Media Matters report:
Media Matters reviewed Fox News transcripts and identified segments including significant discussion of Benghazi on The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren between September 11, 2012, the night of the attacks, and May 2, 2014, when House Speaker John Boehner announced the formation of a select committee to investigate the attacks and their aftermath. This report does not include The Kelly File or Fox Report because they did not run for the full period of the study.
?1,098 total Fox News evening segments that included significant discussion of Benghazi — an average of about 13 segments per week
?In 18 of 20 months studied, Fox ran at least 20 Benghazi segments per month, with a high of 174 in October 2012
?382 segments aired on Special Report, the network’s flagship news program
?478 segments invoked the talking points used for Susan Rice’s 2012 Sunday show appearances
?281 segments alleging a “cover-up” by the Obama administration
?144 interviews of GOP members of Congress versus only five interviews of Democratic members of Congress and Obama administration officials
?120 comparisons to Iran-Contra, Watergate, and the actions of the Nixon administration
?105 attempts to link Benghazi to Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential ambitions
?100 segments promoting the lie that the administration issued a “stand-down order”
Media Matters points out that Fox’s talking points have been repeatedly refuted by actual facts but that hasn’t stopped the sludge from flowing. The right’s obsession with Benghazi is a perfect example of the mighty wurlitzer at work. It’s depressing – people on the right have an almost religious belief that Benghanzi! was some sort of scandal and that if they just keep digging the nefarious, black-hearted truth will emerge.
The problem of having an elected Utah Attorney General is that campaign contributions and other support tend to come from dishonest characters, not people interested in good government.
The 5 Wildest Details In The Arrests Of Ex-Utah Attorneys General
Meet The Prosecutor Who Brought Utah’s Largest Corruption Case Ever After The Feds Let It Go
This Alleged Internet Scammer Could Spell Big Trouble For Utah’s Indicted Ex-AGs
Tonight on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show Prof. Dorian Warren of Columbia University (citing the book White Collar Government by Nicholas Carnes) wondered aloud what it would be like if the millionaires formed their own political party, a party representing just 3 percent of Americans.
- The Millionaire Party would already occupy the White House.
- They would control the House of Representatives.
- They would have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
- And the Millionaires would have a 5-4 Supreme Court majority.
While there is no such thing as the Millionaire Party, does it matter that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without? Could be.
See videos …
Read the rest of this entry »
Ed Kilgore, at Washington Monthly, captures one of the key forces driving the conservative movement – frustration.
Since the 1960s, the conservative movement has been trying to repeal the welfare state:
It’s the Goldwater campaign over and over and over again, with the same goals, the same demonology and the same frustration at Republican Establishment squishes who are willing to settle for what Goldwater himself (in referring to the Eisenhower administration) called a “dime-store New Deal” instead of a rollback of the whole welfare state. Indeed, the goals are so audacious and the frustration so intense that it can make conservatives look like “nihilists” if you miss the underlying patterns.
Kilgore quoted Ross Douthat:
[W]hat you’re seeing motivating the House Intransigents today, what’s driving their willingness to engage in probably-pointless brinksmanship, is not just anger at a specific Democratic administration, or opposition to a specific program, or disappointment over a single electoral defeat. Rather, it’s a revolt against the long term pattern I’ve just described: Against what these conservatives, and many on the right, see as forty years of failure, in which first Reagan and then Gingrich and now the Tea Party wave have all failed to deliver on the promise of an actual right-wing answer to the big left-wing victories of the 1930s and 1960s — and now, with Obamacare, of Obama’s first two years as well.
From the teabagger perspective, American politics has been defined as defeat followed by defeat even when electoral outcomes looked victorious. The result is a revanchist movement driven to recreate a mythical golden age before the welfare state and liberalism came along and ruined everything.
Daniel Larison points out:
. . . the experience of the Bush era is a much more important factor than disappointments with inadequate conservative victories of the past. During the Bush era, most conservatives either supported the administration’s domestic and foreign policy agenda or they didn’t put up much of a fight against any of it for at least the first five or six years. Not only did they end up backing a huge expansion of the welfare state and extraordinarily costly foreign wars, but in order to justify these moves they emphasized the value that these things supposedly had for the political fortunes of the GOP. The Bush-era GOP didn’t just fail to roll back previous government expansions, but did a great deal to increase the size and scope of government. Not long after making this bad bargain, conservatives saw the Republicans lose control of Congress, and they were still associated with one of the most unpopular presidents of modern times. Most conservatives backed almost every bad political and policy bet that Bush-era party leaders made, and it all went horribly wrong for both the GOP’s electoral prospects and conservative priorities. Many conservatives realized too late that they had put the political goals of the party first too often, and had deferred to party leaders too frequently, and so now there is great reluctance to do these things under any circumstances.
When any of those same leaders warn them against a certain course of action now, many conservatives, especially those members of Congress elected in the years since the defeats of 2006 and 2008, are not inclined to pay any attention to them.
The Bush administration should have been a roaring success. It followed the conservative playbook to a T – aggressive foreign policy, tax cuts and weakened regulation at home. Conservatives followed Bush and his team to defeat. America turned its back on them and there’s no going back. FWIW, many teabaggers are angry at Bush and his cronies, seeing them as traitors to the cause, but also as the people responsible for the rise of Barack Obama.
The net result is a movement frustrated at its leaders, angry at its leaders and everyone else, and increasingly desperate as they perceive their window of opportunity (to affect change) closing.
The fiscal cliff negotiations have simply been too depressing to be believed.
From David Atkins at Digby’s place:
On the long-term consequences, it’s true that the President’s inability to stick to a negotiating position may embolden Republicans to take future hostages. But it’s also entirely unclear that Republicans wouldn’t be emboldened, anyway.
There is no reason to believe that the Republicans wouldn’t do everything in their power to hold the debt ceiling hostage no matter how strongly Obama and Reid had negotiated on the fiscal cliff. If the President takes the Constitutional option to avoid hostage-taking over the debt ceiling, there’s no reason to believe that the Republicans wouldn’t portray him as a dictatorial King George spending hard-working Americans out of their sustenance, justifying their efforts to take even more hostages in the near future out of formerly mundane government functions.[snip]
It doesn’t matter that Americans in general blame Republicans for the fiscal cliff mess far more than Democrats. What matters is that in the vast majority of Republican districts they’re considered heroes for standing up to the evil President, while the few sane or vulnerable ones in the House GOP caucus have no power. So why would they compromise? Why would they buckle? Their voters don’t want them to, and any retreat would only mean a potential challenge from the right. Most of them aren’t the least bit afraid of a Democratic opponent in 2014.
And so the depressing cycle continues. Republicans get crazier and crazier and behave in ever less socially acceptable ways and are rewarded by Republican voters, who as Atkins points out, are even more nuts than elected Republicans: Read the rest of this entry »
The Romney campaign is holding a “storm relief event” at which the press badges read “Victory Rally”, they’re using all the same campaign videos and they have provided a tiny area for donations to storm relief.
Mitt Romney is playing politics while the east coast drowns. Such behavior is beneath contempt.