12 January, 2010

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I'm tempted to direct you to Steve Benen's blog and be done with it.  He's always outstanding, but today is a torment - how am I supposed to pick one or two highlights out when I want it all?  It's like shopping for books.


Let's dispense with this headline before we move on to other things:

That's right.  Faux News has hired a faux politician to spew faux facts.  I hesitate to even put the word "facts" here - we all know that Sarah Palin's familiarity with facts is about as great as my familiarity with peeing standing up.  All I can say is, this gives Faux News about the same credibility as Palin's Facebook page.  This makes it all the harder for them to claim to be a "fair and balanced" news organization.

Ah, well.  It's extra blog fodder, at least, and it's already given Steve this amusing thought: "If you pass by Fox News HQ, you can probably hear Mike Huckabee sobbing just a little, saying, 'Wait, I'm the one who's supposed to use Fox News as a platform to launch a far-right presidential campaign.'"

So that's nice, then.

Right.  With that out of the way, let's talk about how the Cons are helping our enemies:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman noted earlier, "Cheney, Kristol and a lot of top Republicans in Washington are acting as unpaid PR agents for al Qaida, trying to turn even its failures into successes. The attempted bombing of Flight 253 was a terror attack; a terror attack succeeds only if it terrorizes its target audience."

Conservatives would, I suspect, find this deeply offensive. Suggesting that prominent right-wing voices are "acting as unpaid PR agents" for terrorists makes it sound as if conservatives hoping to undermine support for America's leadership are unpatriotic -- or worse.

But that's not the argument. The point isn't to characterize the Cheneys and other GOP attack dogs as terrorist sympathizers, it's to note that, in their zeal to weaken Obama's presidency, they're inadvertently giving U.S. enemies exactly what they're looking for. Fareed Zakaria wrote:
The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction. Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn't work. Alas, this one worked very well.
And it worked in part because prominent conservatives, desperate to make the president look bad, did exactly what al Qaeda hoped for: they characterized the failed terrorist attack as a "success."
Well, isn't that special?  Fortunately, the majority of the American public doesn't seem to be falling prey to the same panic the Cons are suffering, and so all al Qaeda has managed to do is terrify the already terrified.  But still, the Cons need to stop screeching and start thinking for a moment.  Do they really want to hand al Qaeda such a bonza PR victory for sending an idiot with incendiaries in his underwear, leading to a farcial situation in which would-be victims had to put out the dumbshit's crotch?  I mean, really.

Speaking of the Crotchfire Bomber, it seems rumors of his one-way ticket have been greatly exaggerated:
In a remarkable example of how bad information can travel far and wide, dozens of media outlets around the world have said Umar Abdulmutallab was traveling on a one-way ticket to Detroit when he allegedly tried to blow up Flight 253, even though that has never been substantiated and appears to be flat wrong.
Look for Jon Stewart, and absolutely no one else, to issue a correction.

Attention, Oklahoma Dems: it's primary time.  Dan Boren's gotta go:
Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Dan Boren (OK) predicted yesterday that his party will lose seats in this November’s election, and possibly lose control of the House. But Oklahoma’s only Democrat in Congress wasn’t worried about the potential losses, seeing big gains for himself. Democratic setbacks would a “good thing for Oklahoma and for me,” he told the Tulsa World:

“If we have a tight majority one way or another, that puts me in the driver’s seat,” the three-term lawmaker said.

“In the 112th (Congress), I probably will have the most influence I have ever had, no matter who has the majority.”

Proper little Lieberman, innit he?  Alas, he's threatening not to switch parties.  Well, if that's so, let's put him up against a credible Dem challenger so he can do some soul-searching.  Or get voted the fuck out of office, which is certainly my preference.  Alas, I do not live in Oklahoma, so I shall have to rely upon my Oklahoma readers to remove this stain from the halls of Congress.

One can see why he wouldn't switch parties and claim the mantle of Con.  He probably doesn't want to get teabagged:
Recognizing the emerging popularity of the so-called tea parties, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sought to embrace the fringe movement. “If I wasn’t doing this job, I’d be out there with the tea partiers,” Steele recently told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. But the tea party movement Steele is encouraging does not appear to be a loyal servant to the GOP. Many of its activists are in fact running for office to take on Republicans.

In December, ThinkProgress reported that ten GOP incumbents were being challenged by tea party activists in Republican primaries. In the interim weeks, many more tea party activists have stepped up to challenge both top Republican recruits and more Republican incumbents, denouncing the hand-picked candidates as too moderate and current lawmakers as divorced from conservative governance:
– Despite his recent conversion to the GOP, Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL) is facing a serious challenge from tea party activist Les Phillip in the Republican primary. Local conservative radioshow host Dale Jackson said both Michael Steele and the NRCC should be “ashamed” to support Griffith. “He was unacceptable a year ago and he’s acceptable now? A year ago, they were saying this guy was a murderer.”

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) has drawn several tea party challengers in his primary election. Jerry Ray Hall – no relation – even submitted his ballot application with the word “Tea” after his middle name.

I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to be watching some Con primaries.  It's not often you get the chance to witness the Keystone Kops version of a political civil war.

And as if that's not enough, there's another civil war brewing (no pun intended):
In the latest sign of rancor in Tea Party circles, a convention billed as an effort to bring together conservative activists from across the country is being attacked by some leading Tea Partiers as inauthentic, too tied to the GOP, and -- at $549 per head -- too expensive for the working Americans the movement aspires to represent.

The National Tea Party Convention, scheduled for early February in Nashville, grabbed headlines after announcing that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann would appear as speakers, Palin as the keynote. According to a message on the convention's website, the event "is aimed at bringing the Tea Party Movement leaders together from around the nation." But organizers are a long way from unifying the notoriously fractious movement.


Tea Party Patriots, which helped put together a September rally that drew tens of thousands to Washington, view the confab -- which is being held at Nashville's swank Opryland Gaylord hotel -- as the "usurpation of a grassroots movement," according to Mark Meckler, a leader of the group. "Most people in our movement can't afford anything like that," Meckler told TPMmuckraker, referring to the price tag. "So it's really not aimed at the average grassroots person."
Robin Stublen, a Tea Party Patriots volunteer, echoed that view. "This convention is $550 dollars," said Stublen. "How grassroots is that?"

Well, about as grassroots as funneling 3/4 of your donations to the GOP consulting firms who created you, but that's another story.

I get the feeling that this period of American history is going to go down as one of the most farcial.  Ain't it great to be living through such exciting times?


Chris said...

Personally, I'm overjoyed that tea baggers are beginning to form a bloc of voters capable of removing moderate, sometimes even rational Republican candidates and replacing them with right wing extremists. It seems to me that historically, in national elections the real action has been at the center. As far as I'm concerned, the Republican Party has little or no chance of capturing these kinds of voters with a slate of mindless extremists. Last election it was transparently obvious to me that McCain chose Sarah Palin to lock down the extreme right wing of his party, which would leave him free to posture himself as a more moderate "independent" and go after the center. But the strategy backfired and Palin chased away a great many more moderates than the number of conservatives she attracted.

hipparchia said...

shopping for books... obviously you need the help of an expert:

1. obtain liquor boxes
2. go to the friends of the library book sale at the end of the last day
3. fill all the liquor boxes with books
4. usually you can get out the door for about $5 per box