Survived the all-day training, but only just. Eight hours' worth of platitudinous pablum is enough to melt even the sturdiest brain.
I missed my pollyticks. And there was plenty o' pollyticks to miss. Let's dive right in.
Inhofe's been sniffing the crazy glue again:
I often feel bad for Americans who are represented by lawmakers who've gone mad. When folks who don't know better hear a U.S. senator insist publicly that something is true, they might not realize their elected official is a nut. The deceptive argument necessarily comes with some credibility, by virtue of the office. (So-and-so can't be completely crazy; he's a senator.)
Take Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), for example, who reportedly told a group of constituents the other day that President Obama intends to let "hard-core terrorists" run "loose in the United States."
"There are 245 hard-core terrorists that would be turned loose in the United States and one of the locations where they would be putting them is Fort Sill," Inhofe told a gathering of constituents, according to the Ada Evening News. "You turn these people loose and they become magnets for terrorism all over the country."
Now, those constituents may not realize that Inhofe is mad as a hatter, and that his claims are ridiculous. No one is talking about turning terrorists loose in the country. Inhofe may or may not realize this -- the poor guy is pretty far gone -- but it's clearly an argument detached from reality.
Steve Benen suggests a reality-based fact checker be assigned to Inhofe at all times in order to protect less-informed constituents from inadvertently believing a word the madman says. I'm afraid Inhofe would end up eating his fact checker.
Elsewhere, clueless House Cons stood over the smoking rubble of our nation's economy and crowed over their ostensible fire-prevention skills:
Today, the Washington Post reported that “eleven weeks after Congress settled on a stimulus package that provided $135 billion to limit layoffs in state governments, many states are finding that the funds are not enough and are moving to lay off thousands of public employees.” Washington state will be forced to layoff several thousand educators and Massachusetts which “cut 1,000 positions late last year, just announced 250 layoffs, with more likely to come soon.”
Apparently missing the article’s point — that the stimulus should have included more budget stabilization funding for states — the House GOP featured the article on their website today, suggesting that the report vindicated their unanimous opposition to the recovery act. Later in the day, they linked to the article on twitter and gleefully quipped, “Look how many layoffs the stimulus created“:
In reality, of course, the economic recovery didn’t “create” layoffs at the state level. Had the recovery plan included no money at all for state level budget stabilization — as the House Republicans proposed — layoffs of public servants at the state level would have been far more widespread.
Further, as the Post makes clear, it was members of the Republican party and several conservative Democrats sympathetic with the Republican line on the recovery package that actively lobbied for reductions in state budget stabilization funding by $40 billion...
Recall our analogy of the burned-down house. You now see that their fire-prevention consisted of soaking the walls in gasoline and striking a match. Real impressive.
And they take such pleasure in fucking over democracy:
A Congressional Quarterly article about GOP efforts to get conservative Democrats to oppose major legislation contains an interesting admission from Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).
Acording to the piece, Republicans "have vowed to block, reshape or defeat a number of Democratic initiatives in coming months, even though Specter's defection has left the Senate Republican caucus with just 40 members."But in a 99-member Senate, 40 votes are enough to keep Democrats from cutting off debate on major legislation. "Usually you need 41 votes to get anything done around here. But right now, you can do a lot with 40 votes,'' said Judd Gregg
In a 99-seat Senate, 40 votes isn't nearly enough to "get anything done." Not at all. It is rather the bare minimum necessary to make sure nothing gets done. And it explains why so many Republican senators will routinely vote against cloture on major Democratic agenda items. It's called a filibuster--and it isn't typically thought of as way to "get stuff done."
Al Franken won. They know Al Franken won. They know Minnesotans would just like them to stop throwing tantrums so that Minnesota can have its second senator. They just don't give a shit. I'm sure that's going to win them plenty of kudos among their rapidly-shrinking base. We'll see how Americans in general react to having an infantile minority play games in order to block popular legislation.
Some Cons are counting on their delusions to see them to victory:
Here's ousted former Republican congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, describing what her Votes Have Consequences group will do to the Democrats:
We will spread the truth about their destructive agendas, drag down their approval ratings, force them to publicly defend socialism, authoritarian gun-grabbing, gay marriage, infanticide and everything else they vote for in Washington, and ultimately, on November 2, 2010, we will take their jobs away from them.
She also helpfully explained that she got crushed last year because “the radical homosexual lobby, abortionists, gun-grabbers and all the rest of the extremists finally spent enough money, spread enough lies, and fooled enough voters to defeat me.” Oh yeah, that's just the kind of grace and sportsmanship the new GOP needs.
I smell victory in 2010. It does not smell like eau de GOP:
Both Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Kit Bond (R-MO), a pair of undistinguished right-wing hacks and rubber stamps, have had it with being part of the Senate minority. Each announced he would be retiring after the current session. And each represents a swing state leaning towards the Democrats and away from the disintegrating GOP. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is overwhelmingly favored to win the Missouri Senate seat regardless of which far right fringe loon the Republicans put forward and as you can see from this St Petersburg Times straw poll from today, progressive Democratic state Senator Dan Gelber is polling better than Republicans Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio + corrupt Democratic shill Kendrick Meek combined:
John Cornyn and Orrin Hatch, chair and vice-chair of the NRSC are so nervous that the Senate Republican caucus could wind up with an impotent 35 members (which is what will happen if they pick up no seats and lose in Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Missouri and Florida) that they took the unprecedented step today of kicking a young right-wing up-and-comer and fave of the nutroots, Marco Rubio, to the curb while endorsing-- in a rare GOP example of gay outreach?-- a relatively moderate Republican with a very spotty record.
If Cons don't take a deep breath and grab some sanity soon, I'm afraid that 35-member minority might be a bit on the optimistic side. There's only so much batshit insanity Americans can take.