Newt Gingrich, the disgraced former House speaker who would dearly love to be president ... but who never will ... is one of those conservatives who has spent their adult life tisk-tisking Black and Brown people for calling people who look and think like him, "racist," and for "playing the race card," also known as "race hustling." Well, a funny thing happened when Newt did a little race hustling of his own. He got backslapped by reality. So now, Newt is walking back his "Sonia Sotomayor is a racist" tweet, while also learning that Twitter can be dangerous to the verbally impuslive. Newt emailed the following mea culpa to supporters:
My initial reaction was strong and direct -- perhaps too strong and too direct. The sentiment struck me as racist and I said so. Since then, some who want to have an open and honest consideration of Judge Sotomayor’s fitness to serve on the nation’s highest court have been critical of my word choice.
With these critics who want to have an honest conversation, I agree. The word “racist” should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable (a fact which both President Obama and his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, have since admitted).
He then goes on to try and re-explain his opposition to Sotomayor like an adult, rather than an angry, screaming kid in the mall, like he and his winger friends have done so far. Good luck with that. So why the change of heart? Why, people whose support he just might need when he runs for president in 2012 -- you know, the ones who actually have jobs in the Republican Party -- were not amused.
Okay, so who was the RNC genius who came up with this one:
She’s the 69-year-old speaker of the House of Representatives , second in the line of succession and the most powerful woman in U.S. history. But when you see Nancy Pelosi, the Republican National Committee wants you to think “Pussy Galore.”
At least that’s the takeaway from a video released by the committee this week – a video that puts Pelosi side-by-side with the aforementioned villainess from the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger.” The RNC video, which begins with the speaker’s head in the iconic spy-series gun sight, implies that Pelosi has used her feminine wiles to dodge the truth about whether or not she was briefed by the CIA on the use of waterboarding in 2002. While the P-word is never mentioned directly, in one section the speaker appears in a split screen alongside the Bond nemesis – and the video’s tagline is “Democrats Galore.”
The wisdom of equating the first woman speaker of the House with a character whose first name also happens to be among the most vulgar terms for a part of the female anatomy might be debated – if the RNC were willing to do so, which it was not. An RNC spokesperson refused repeated requests by POLITICO to explain the point of the video, or the intended connection between Pelosi and Galore.
Supah ... genius... here's the video:
So far, the hit count is pretty low, but I'm sure the POlitico story will help Mike Steele and his merry band of fools out.
Michael Steele: Last, best hope of the Republican Party...
... or, total and complete boob. Tooootally up to you. Steele today resumed his Herculean effort to revive the GOP, first by threatening to quit if they take his RNC budget authority away, and then, by declaring that the era of Republican apology is OVER ... unless of course you count the mandatory apologias to Rush Limbaugh whenever he feels slighted. Watch, and learn...
The Republican Party is in a sure-fire pickle. They can't stand moderates -- really they can't -- but the available evidence for the last two election cycles suggests they can't get their preferred candidates (namely, anti-taxation, pro-corporate, illegal immigrant hunters who think Barack Obama is a foreign Muslim and who stockpile guns in their mother's basements) elected.
In fact, most of the successes the party has had in winning elections in recent years have been with candidates who at least tried to appear moderate (former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman in New Jersey, former Gov. Pataki in New York, the ousted John Sununu in New Hampshire, Senators Snowe and Collins in Maine, and even the Bushes: Jeb, who dropped the "probably nothing" approach to ethnic politics, sucked up to black and Hispanic voters and moderated his way to victory in 1998, and George W, who ran as a "compassionate conservative" for president in 2000...) Here in Dixie, where the Republican Party is now almost exclusively based, and where Saxby Chambliss (one of the many veteran-smearing GOPers to slime their way into office in recent years) still has a job, it's looking dicey for the GOP when they try to go the Club for Growth route, rather than the Bush (pre governing) route.
Enter Marco Rubio ... the young, Cuban-American Republican of the Future. He's good looking ... he can rip into Democrats in Spanish, just like Jebbie, and he's running on those vaunted "conservative principles," like refusing to take federal aide that could help salve a yawning, $6 billion statewide deficit run up by Republicans -- that wingers cherish (at least now that George W. Bush is out of office.) And yet, he can't catch a break. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, let by Texan John Cornyn, took less than 15 minutes to shove him aside and endorse yet another squishy "moderate," Barack Obama's fave GOP governor, Charlie Crist, for Melly Mel Martinez's Senate seat -- without even checking in with El Rushbo first -- and causing much head scratching and consternation among the qaida ("the base," for those of you not caught up on the lingo) who are rightly wondering whether a party leadership that has utterly failed to advance the winger cause for so many years, and which so thoroughly screwed up the country for the last eight, should get to pick Florida's GOP Senate candidate. For shame! And now, the Florida GOPers, who, like Dick "pick the stranger's car over his, kid" Cheney, would take El Rushbo over Colin Powell, are in mini-revolt:
Anti-Crist 'backlash' brewing
So national Republican party leaders have blessed Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign for the U.S. Senate and the chairman of Republican Party of Florida is ready to do the same. Case closed?
Not so fast. Sharon Day, the party's national committeewoman, is refusing to sign off on a statement that would allow the state party to start providing Crist with support even though he's running in a contested primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio and other lesser-known candidates.
The Hillsborough and Brevard local parties have passed resolutions protesting the state party's efforts to close ranks, and Palm Beach Republicans are considering the same.
Throw in the RedStaters, who are pledging to starve the NRSC of cash as payback for not towing the Club for Growth line, all because of their love and support for Hispanics (stop that laughing!) and you've got yourself a veritable teabag party of right wing fury! OMG, wait till Cornyn finds out the guy is gay! God, I love politics!
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
With all the media excitement over Charlie Crist apparently becoming the next Senator from Florida before a single primary vote has been cast ... ahem ... and despite all the attention Marco Rubio is getting for getting the shaft from the NRSC, Charlie and Marco aren't the only candidates in the race. Dr. Marion Thorpe, an African-American physician who frankly, has been running for the Republican Senate nod before either of the other two guys, issued this statement today (for which he helpfully tagged me on Facebook...)
THORPE For US SENATE Statement: The Protocol and Fairness of the 2010 Race
Dr. Marion D. Thorpe, Jr., candidate for U.S Senate in the state of Florida remains 100% committed to all laws and notions affording open and fair election processes in our Nation. In response to the growing disagreement between the state-wide Republican Party of Florida and Florida's County Republican chapters and grassroots activists, Dr. Thorpe has issued the following statement:
I support efforts of party activists to pass resolutions throughout the state of Florida in support of an open and fair Primary Election process.
While I welcome the Governor into the race, I do so with the hopes of having a spirited debate about who can be the best standard-bearer for the Republican Party, the state of Florida and the Nation as a whole.
In a free republic we have elections, not coronations.
I do so hope that Governor Crist and Speaker Rubio will join me in support of these resolutions.
Marion D. Thorpe, Jr. MD MPH
Chief Medical Officer (Former) Agency for Health Care Administration State of Florida
Thorpe is also a conservative, who last time around ran against Alcee Hastings for Congress. We'll see if the media -- or the qaida -- gives him any love.
The RedState crazy train finally makes a stop in Florida
So... the guys over at RedState (when they're not desperately Googling for proof that Barack Obama is not really an American citizen, or stockpiling guns inside their moms' garages...) have launched a war ... against Republicans. Specifically, they're going to war against the Republican Senate Campaign Committee for the offense of supporting Miss Charlie for Senate. Cue the circular firing squad, in which the RedStaters attempt to ... (sorry, I started laughing and nearly choked myself...) stand up for DIVERSITY!
I’m reminded of a quote from the media a couple of months ago that conservatives could not support Charlie Crist in Florida because of his support for diversity initiatives. The reporter failed to them point out that these white Christian conservatives were supporting the Latino candidate.
Tom Slade, a former chairman of the Florida GOP, said popularity always trumps ideology, and he predicted Crist easily would win the Republican nomination.
That, he added, that might be good for the party as a whole.
“There are not enough blue-eyed, white, blond guys and girls who go to church three times on Sunday and once on Wednesday to make up a majority for the Republican Party almost anywhere,” Slade said. “If we don’t broaden the party, there won’t be much of a party left.”
Yes, so let’s broaden the party by electing a white guy instead of a Latino.
So... RedState.com is where you go to be in solidarity with Latinos? ... Ooh, and they have a Facebook page, too! These Republicans are so tech savvy! ... Except that the purpose of the Facebook page is to bankrupt the entity whose job it is to get Republicans elected to the Senate ... where currently there are only 40 Republicans ... um ...
At some point, I'm going to start thinking that wingers don't actually want to win elections. Which brings me to a great quote from Larry Wilkerson in that chilling TWN post:
... fewer Americans identify as Republicans than at any time since WWII. We're at 21% and falling--right in line with the number of cranks, reprobates, and loonies in the country.
It's no secret that there hasn't been much love lost over the years between Colin Powell and Dick Cheney. When it comes to the moderate military man, the chickenhawk cabal who hijacked George W. Bush's presidency and crashed it into the ground (sorry, couldn't resist the 20th hijacker reference...) no likey. In fact Cheney, who opted out of Vietnam himself, doesn't seem to have much use for people who actually serve. But fellow Vietnam service dodgers like Rush Limbaugh? Them, he likes:
And if you look at the latest Gallup Poll, it appears the Republican Party will soon be made up only of draft dodgers, pill heads and wacked out talk show hosts (and Michael "Fo Sheezy" Steele.) Wow.
Eric Cantor has come up with a bold, new idea: take the same old Republicans who got the party into this mess, and build a brand new organization around them to sell the public on putting them back in power ... with town halls! Brilliant...
In case you missed it, the New Yorker's Hendrik Herzberg makes the case for secession:
For the old country, the benefits would be obvious. A more intimately sized Congress would briskly enact sensible gun control, universal health insurance, and ample support for the arts, the humanities, and the sciences. Although Texas itself has been a net contributor to the Treasury—it gets back ninety-four cents for each dollar it sends to Washington—nearly all the other potential F.S. states, especially the ones whose politicians complain most loudly about the federal jackboot, are on the dole. (South Carolina, for example, receives $1.35 on the dollar, as compared with Illinois’s seventy-five cents.) Republicans would have a hard time winning elections for a generation or two, but eventually a responsible opposition party would emerge, along the lines of Britain’s Conservatives, and a normal alternation in power could return.
The Federated States, meanwhile, could get on with the business of protecting the sanctity of marriage, mandating organized prayer sessions and the teaching of creationism in schools, and giving the theory that eliminating taxes increases government revenues a fair test. Although Texas and the other likely F.S. states already conduct some eighty-six per cent of executions, their death rows remain clogged with thousands of prisoners kept alive by meddling judges. These would be rapidly cleared out, providing more prison space for abortion providers. Although there might be some economic dislocation at first, the F.S. could remedy this by taking advantage of its eligibility for OPEC membership and arranging a new “oil shock.” Failing that, foreign aid could be solicited from Washington. But the greatest benefit would be psychological: freed from the condescension of metropolitan élites and Hollywood degenerates, the new country could tap its dormant creativity and develop a truly distinctive Way of Life.
And Sarah Palin could finally rule! Texas, are you listening?
The Club for Shrinkage: Olympia Snowe schools the GOP
In a NYT op-ed today, Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of just two remaining Northeastern Republicans in the Senate, makes it plain: the Republican Party is shrinking away to nothingness:
It is true that being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of “Survivor” — you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe. But it is truly a dangerous signal that a Republican senator of nearly three decades no longer felt able to remain in the party.
... I have said that, without question, we cannot prevail as a party without conservatives. But it is equally certain we cannot prevail in the future without moderates.
In that same vein, I am reminded of a briefing by a prominent Republican pollster after the 2004 election. He was asked what voter groups Republicans might be able to win over. He responded: women in general, married women with children, Hispanics, the middle class in general, and independents.
How well have we done as a party with these groups? Unfortunately, the answer is obvious from the results of the last two elections. We should be reaching out to these segments of our population — not de facto ceding them to the opposing party.
There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party. Ideological purity is not the ticket back to the promised land of governing majorities — indeed, it was when we began to emphasize social issues to the detriment of some of our basic tenets as a party that we encountered an electoral backlash.
It's worse than that. The Republican Party has so many litmus tests, and so many contradictory philosophies (pro torture and domestic surveillance, reading of people's mail and monitoring their phone calls and email, but supposedly pro individual liberty; for government control over pregnancy and research, but also "pro freedom," for zeroing out taxes for the rich, but supposedly "for the little guy" too; against big government but for big government handouts to corporations, and on and on...) it's almost impossible to qualify for membership. Hispanics are not welcome. Attacking black people is part of the fun. The elderly shouldn't' get Social Security, and women should remain under the firm control of the state, but both are crucial constituencies at election time. As a result, losing Arlen Specter is the least of the party's troubles, as Avi Zenilman of the New Yorker points out:
... the number of Republicans are shrinking, and almost sixty per cent of independents support Obama. “There’s no doubt that the G.O.P. has lost about a third of the identifiers it had six years ago,” Michael Dimock, the associate director of the Pew Research Center, told me. In this most recent poll, Democrats outnumbered Republicans two to one. “The larger gap in approval is almost more driven by excitement among Democrats,” he added.
Dimock noted that most Republican defectors become independents—unlike Senators, civilians don’t need to join a party to keep their job. Specter is a lagging indicator; he was threatened by a primary challenger in a shrinking party, so he took his generally centrist instincts to the other side of the aisle.
This means Obama and Democrats may have less trouble passing their agenda. It also means that if things get worse under the Democrats, and Republicans come to power, then even fewer moderates stand in the way of Rush Limbaugh’s agenda.
Republicans have ZERO blacks in Congress, five Hispanics, and exactly ONE Jewish member (Eric Cantor.) They are literally a party almost exclusively for and of, southern and western white men. In other words, the GOP as a national party is fading away, and fast. And the sad thing is, even as their party is dying, they won't listen to Sen. Snowe, they'll roundly attack her, and then they'll invite her to leave the party, just like Specter. Rush and company will bid her "good riddance," and continue to disappear into an angry, white, gun hoarding ideological cave in the American South.
Dick's Army: the toooootally spontaneous 'tea parties'
The ones in South Florida are backed by Clear Channel and James Crystal Radio. Go figure! Meanwhile, one wonders just how much money Dick Armey's corporate underwriters are doling out for today's events... funny tea bag moment so far: the news reporter on right wing NewsRadio 610 this morning gushing that "thousands" of people are expected to attend the tea parties, across the entire country. Thousands, huh? Not exactly the Million Man March, is it?
Reason #244 not to listen to Newt Gingrich: he spends a lot of time braying about things he knows nothing about.
This morning on "This Week," the former disgraced House Speaker took his Twitter bitching about President Obama's handling of the Somali pirate capture of an American seaman to the big leagues. I suppose Newt, who gets exactly zero national security briefings or hell, briefings of any kind, wanted Obama to go out Dubya style: start blustering on television about nuking Somalia, and order the U.S.S. Bainbridge to blow the pirate dinghy out of the water with the Maersk captain still inside, or have Navy SEALs storm the ship, risking the captain's life. Just hours later, news reports said the captain had been rescued, after three dead-on (no pun intended) simultaneous shots by SEAL snipers who had parachuted in secret aboard the Bainbridge, and CNN reported that the president had on Friday given the Seals the go-ahead to use deadly force if necessary to save the captain's life.
Who's picking the Republican leadership of tomorrow? Why, it's the unsexy of today. You remember the unsexy don't you? It's El Rushbo, who topped the Boston Phoenix's unsexy list already this year, with three quarters of the year still to go!
JABBA THE NUT America’s ugliest moment of 2009? Rush Limbaugh, his man-boobs a-jiggle, bouncing at the CPAC podium to bask in the sickly glow of conservatism’s orgy of greed, avarice, and arrogance. Here, at last, was the shining image of the 21st century Republican Party: a leeringly rich Baby Boomer squatting at the top of the mountain, reaping his jollies from the suffering of those at the bottom, praying for the failure of hope. If this hypocritical and morally repugnant reformed Oxy junkie wants to discuss “failure,” maybe we should talk about his career as an NFL commentator — or the last time he detoxed off prescription smack.
Michael Steele's crazy train: who is Trevor Francis
The latest drama from the three-ring circus that is Michael Steele's RNC, per Politico, the announcement of Steele's new communications director, Trevor Francis, drew a collective "who is Trevor Francis???" from D.C. insiders. To whit:
“I don’t know who he is,” one senior comm staffer told us. Four more senior staffers agreed — staffers who, mind you, will be working with Francis daily.
Now, he does have experience — he worked at the RNC during Haley Barbour’s reign, when Jim Dyke was working there, and he comes from the world of Burson-Marsteller, and before that he worked for Commerce Sec Don Evans. As one of the above four staffers told us, “I doubt reporters know him, and if people know him, they knew him from five years ago — he’s been out of the game since then.” Another staffer scoffed that he hoped he wouldn’t have to do a search to find political reporters’ e-mails on Day One.
This is not a good sign, despite his “12 years’ experience,” as one site boasts.
Dyke, now a consultant, is working with Steele, and the consensus is that Francis was chosen because, as one former Francis colleague put it: “Jim can control him.” Dyke laughed that off and told Shenan: “Like bananas control monkeys. Or do monkeys control bananas?”
Someone familiar with Francis declared coolly, “Trevor is in over his head” and added, “In this kind of atmosphere, they need a big shot.”
Yet another staffer reacted, “Can the RNC just stoooooooooop?!” The GOP-er familiar with Francis wondered aloud: “It’s like Michael Steele is a Democrat trying to do everything possible to screw us.”
Or maybe his plan is to make Republicans absolutely "bananans" -- another middle aged hip-hop version of "off the chain..." See? There is method to Steele's madness...
'Skinny Bitch' Watch: Laura Ingraham fires back (again)
Having played the party of the snarky, asthmatic yearbook editor to Megan McCain's popular cheerleader, Laura Ingraham took her outrage to a new level yesterday, issuing an angry email outburst called "Useful idiot-watch," aimed at all those evil jerks who hated on her skinny bitchery. Hat tip to ThinkProgress:
The left’s indignation in this instance is manufactured and totally phony. If any off-the-cuff remark about a woman’s size was condemnable, then where was the outrage when President Obama made a passing reference to Jessica Simpson’s “weight battle” during his Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer? And of course they look the other way when obvious personal attacks are levied against conservatives. Remember when Al Franken was the toast of all media for his book “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot”? Last month The View’s Joy Behar called him a “fat guy”; and when I was a guest on The View a few years back she ridiculed Ann Coulter and me as “peroxide” blondes on Fox. I laughed it off. If you can’t stand the heat…get out of the punditry business.
High school translation:
LAURA: (wheeze) "Like ... they called my boyfriend fat, so screw 'em! He's not fat because he eats too much, it's genetic! Miss Stupid Face is fat 'cause she's stupid...! Cheerleaders are stupid...! You're all stupid...!
Snap poll: who would most winger guys rather date: Boney Laura or curvy Megan?
I'm not a huge fan of the McCain clan (particularly after John McCain's conduct of the 2008 campaign,) but I have to say Megan McCain, for all her Valley girlisms and relationshiop TMI, she comes across as a far more reasonable, thoughtful and likeable Snidely Whiplash radio termagant (and resident "bodysnarker") Laura Ingraham. Advice to Laura (and her fellow winger anorexics): shut up and have a hamburger. Don't hate on Megan because she's cuter than you.
Meanwhile, in other radio news: Don Imus has announced he is battling prostate cancer. Again, not a fan, but godspeed to him.
Newt Gingrich is running for president in 2012. How do I know? The "other fat one" has waded into the GOP vacuum created, most recently, by the unmanliness of Michael Steele. Now, Newt is attempting to demonstrate that one can stand up against Rush Limbaugh -- even dare to question his role as the leader of the Republican Party, and live to tell about it. We'll see how that works out. He even used the opportunity, on NBC no less, to take a shot at Chris Matthews:
"Rush Limbaugh is in the long run an interesting radio personality," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"The fact is he has a large audience, the audience believes him, the audience calls their members, the audience has an affect. He's not the leader of the Republican party," he said.
"That's like saying, 'Does Chris Matthews help or hurt the Democratic party?'"
As if. Matthews, on a given day, sounds like everything from a Democrat to a Reaganite. Calling him a leader of any Democrat is like saying Shep Smith should replace Michael Steele. (Newt then went on to answer the question of whether he wants to run in 2012 with something on the order of "not particularly." But of course not...