The mind boggles…
It’s been a rough stretch for all sorts of political commentators of late, most especially for those who do so with pen and ink and try to bring a touch of humor to what they have to say. But last Thursday brought respite…
You gets what you deserve when you were the Worst. President. Ever. Including the ignominy of have a Big Dick more the focus of the well-earned contempt than you were.
Over the weekend, the BBC provided more background on this story.
If this excerpt doesn’t get your attention, nothing I can add here will. Go read the whole damned–and damning–thing
Shortly after Nixon took office in 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover informed him of the existence of the file containing national security wiretaps documenting how Nixon’s emissaries had gone behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back to convince the South Vietnamese government to boycott the Paris Peace Talks, which were close to ending the Vietnam War in fall 1968.In the case of Watergate – the foiled Republican break-in at the Democratic National Committee in June 1972 and Richard Nixon’s botched cover-up leading to his resignation in August 1974 – the evidence is now clear that Nixon created the Watergate burglars out of his panic that the Democrats might possess a file on his sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968.
The disruption of Johnson’s peace talks then enabled Nixon to hang on for a narrow victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey. However, as the new President was taking steps in 1969 to extend the war another four-plus years, he sensed the threat from the wiretap file and ordered two of his top aides, chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, to locate it. But they couldn’t find the file.
We now know that was because President Johnson, who privately had called Nixon’s Vietnam actions “treason,” had ordered the file removed from the White House by his national security aide Walt Rostow.
(Also from Facebook; if you don’t know why, read this)
Earlier today I said that the best comment about Marco Rubio’s amateur hour last night was “Rubio mistakenly puts Tea Party 2013 convention speech in the teleprompter.” I was wrong. It was this, at Huffington Post:
“I heard that even Bobby Jindal was laughing at him.”
Today Rubio came out as a climate change denier, by the way.
Your new GOP, same as your old GOP. But ethnic.
I posted this on Facebook just now:
Marco Rubio’s curious speech post the State of the Union address last night will mostly be remembered for his desperate lurch for the water bottle. But two things about it baffle me.
I thought his effort was entirely tone deaf, thus cementing it in the current GOP style: miss the point, argue against things your opponent never said nor advocated, try to be funny/snarky and come across as just mean instead. My favorite tweet of the night (this is from memory so may note be verbatim): “Rubio mistakenly puts Tea Party 2013 convention speech in the teleprompter.”
However, certain commentators I might not have expected to thought it was just fine. My favorite internet popper of dubious balloons, Paul Pierce, had kind words for it in his first post today (he’s since come back to reality) and, on MSNBC last night, the not-nearly-as-smart-as-everybody-thinks-she-is Rachel Maddow initially reacted favorably as well, while the not-nearly-as-smart-as-HE-thinks-he-is Chris Matthews, usually a total sucker for fluff and platitudes, tore the speech apart. That was definitely a reversal of roles.
But what got me most was this Rubio comment about his parents:
“I didn’t inherit any money from them.”
Whoa, did somebody accuse him of inheriting money and I missed it? Can it be that he has abandoned the standard GOP position* that inherited money is absolutely the best kind of money? If not, what was the purpose of this non sequitur?
*That’s “the standard GOP position” for Old School Repubs, of course, the country club crowd; the best kind of money for the younger set (Palin et al) is grifter money.
This comment by a reader of the Talking Points Memo site seems to me to be spot on re: the developing Chris Christie, GOP Savior” meme among the political press (and, yes, I am _appalled_ by my contributing to the ridiculous discussion of the 2016 election at this point but it’s cold and snowy out there and a guy’s gotta do something to fill the time, so what the hell):
I think that Chris Christie can be related to another Republican politician whose presidential ambitions, once seen as highly realistic, faded because his personality became too apparent–Rudy Giuliani.
Like Christie, Giuliani was a bombastic executive who rose to prominence as a tough-as-nails prosecutor in bare-knuckles US Attorneys’ offices. They both tended to “wear their emotions on their sleeve” as you very generously put it. Or put another way, Christie and Giuliani are both assholes.
Giuliani’s personality was both the key to his political success, as well as the surest reason for its failure. He beat an unpopular incumbent, his tough love for a tough city was seen as the key in turning New York City around. But by the summer of 2001 he had become somewhat unpopular. His style of leadership was once again effective on 9/11 and its immediate aftermath. Giuliani’s presidential campaign started off with him as the far-and-away front-runner, but suffered because he lost support as people got to know him. Ultimately, the asshole attitude did not play.
Christie similarly beat an unpopular opponent and his “no nonsense” approach earned praise in tough times. But he was facing a tough re-election (at best a 50-50 chance) until Sandy gave him an opportunity to once again showcase his tough (and possibly by necessity bi-partisan) approach, winning him plaudits in a time of emergency, and scaring off his most serious Democratic challengers.
I suspect that like Giuliani, Christie’s personality is likely to grate on the public once the emergency has passed. It’s not a surprise that both are from the New York/New Jersey area. Let’s face it; other “heart on the sleeve” politicians (with attitudes often less pronounced than Christie and Giuliani) from the area who are popular in their home state–Anthony Weiner (before Weiner-gate), Chuck Schumer, Peter King–don’t play as well on the national stage. For whatever reasons (and, there are good and many bad reasons), what is endearing in the New York metro area is not endearing at Iowa Fairs and New Hampshire Town Meetings.
True, Giuliani had more pronounced problems from a policy standpoint–being a thrice married pro-choice, pro gay rights, pro gun control urban mayor is probably the exact opposite of the profile of a Republican presidential candidate. But some–or at least enough–of Christie’s appeal has been a willingness to take moderate positions, and that may play even worse in a 2016 Republican Primary than it did in 2008.
(A last note–Christie’s public blow-up is remarkably uncalled for. The apparent health of a President or presidential candidate is a matter of public interest. Certainly whether Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, or John McCain were central issues in their campaigns–and whether Joe Biden might would certainly be, if that campaign comes to pass–a pretty obvious health risk like Christie’s is fair game. It may well gnaw on him personally, and I have sympathy for that, but telling her in a press conference to “shut up” is just plain wrong from a political standpoint–putting aside the bizarre personal call to her afterwards.)
NOTE: This post originally appeared in my Facebook feed in a slightly different form.
The true problem, as yet unaddressed by any Republican standard-bearer, originates in the ideology of modern conservatism. When the intellectual authors of the modern right created its doctrines in the 1950s, they drew on nineteenth-century political thought, borrowing explicitly from the great apologists for slavery, above all, the intellectually fierce South Carolinian John C. Calhoun. This is not to say conservatives today share Calhoun’s ideas about race. It is to say instead that the Calhoun revival, based on his complex theories of constitutional democracy, became the justification for conservative politicians to resist, ignore, or even overturn the will of the electoral majority.
This is the politics of nullification, the doctrine, nearly as old as the republic itself, which holds that the states, singly or in concert, can defy federal actions by declaring them invalid or simply ignoring them. We hear the echoes of nullification in the venting of anti-government passions and also in campaigns to “starve government,” curtail voter registration, repeal legislation, delegitimize presidents. There is a strong sectionalist bias in these efforts. They flourish in just the places Kevin Phillips identified as Republican strongholds—Plains, Mountain, but mainly Southern states, where change invites suspicion, especially when it seems invasive, and government is seen as an intrusive force. Yet those same resisters—most glaringly, Tea Partiers—cherish the entitlements and benefits provided by “Big Government.” Their objections come when outsider groups ask for consideration, too. Even recent immigrants to this country sense the “hidden hand” of Calhoun’s style of dissent, the extended lineage of rearguard politics, with its aggrieved call, heard so often today, “to take back America”—that is, to take America back to the “better” place it used to be. Today’s conservatives have fully embraced this tradition, enshrining it as their own “Lost cause,” redolent with the moral consolations of noble defeat.
NOTE: This post first appeared on Facebook in slightly different form. See the post which will appear above this one when I get around to posting it for an explanation.
Start by claiming that raising the debt limit is a big ask to create a rationale for demanding a price. Then downplay the consequences of failing to act, so that Republicans keep their nerve, and the administration looks petulant for not agreeing to horse trade.
But both arguments are so unmoored from reality, you wonder why the GOP would bother making them if they didn’t recognize that their real play here is so politically noxious. “Cut Medicare benefits or we’ll gratuitously destroy the economy” isn’t a big winner.
But as much as they’d like to pretend otherwise, even the best-case-scenario post-debt limit breach would be hugely damaging to the economy.
When we are at the next “cliff” (the current version of “gate”). don’t say I didn’t warn you. The 2012 Election is not over; it’s barely begun.
[T]here are people in Congress who truly see default as an ideal alternative to having to concede any points in what should be a rational process of negotiation and deal-making.Rep. Michele Bachmann made her willingness to destroy the global economy for the glory of Tea Party Caucus a central selling point for her presidential candidacy. And now, legislators who were once considered reasonable have become enablers to the lunatics.
But the enabling isn’t just happening in Congress, it’s happening in the media, as well, which is why another thing I would like to make clear is that those who see debt ceiling lunacy as a legitimate side in a debate or just one more interesting point of view among many are just as culpable in what could be a pending economic calamity as the lunatics themselves.
Stupidity rules. Simple as that. And I do mean “simple.”
[C]ommon negotiation tactics require dealing with an opposition that understands reality. “Leverage” only works against rational people. A large number of House Republicans aren’t just “nihilists,” willing to blow up the economy to get what they want, they’re plain morons who have impossible and horrible goals and no clue whatsoever how to reach them.